An Interview with criminologist Dr. Kim Rossmo, whose pioneer work lead to the creation of the field of geographic profiling:
Rossmo joined the Vancouver Police Department as a civilian employee in 1978 and became a sworn officer in 1980. In 1987 he received a master’s degree in criminology from Simon Fraser University and in 1995 became the first police officer in Canada to obtain a doctorate in criminology. His dissertation research resulted in a new criminal investigative methodology called geographic profiling.
In 1995, he was promoted to detective inspector and founded a geographic profiling section within the Vancouver Police Department. In 1998, his analysis of cases of missing sex trade workers determined that a serial killer was at work, a conclusion ultimately vindicated by the arrest and conviction of Robert Pickton in 2002. A retired Vancouver police staff sergeant has claimed that animosity toward Rossmo delayed the arrest of Pickton, leaving him free to carry out additional murders. His analytic results were not accepted at the time and after a dispute with senior members of the department he left in 2001. His unsuccessful lawsuit against the Vancouver Police Board for wrongful dismissal exposed considerable apparent dysfunction within that department.
After serving as director of research at the Police Foundation in Washington, DC, from 2001 to 2003, he moved to Texas State University where he currently holds the Endowed Chair in Criminology and is director of the Center for Geospatial Intelligence and Investigation. Since then, he has applied techniques of geographic profiling to counterterrorism, animal foraging, and epidemiology. He has also researched and published on the subject of criminal investigative failures. He has written three books.
At the conclusion of this interview Kim very kindly wrote, “I just wanted to tell you that I have done a lot of interviews over the years and your questions today were really good. I could tell you put a lot of thought and planning into this.”
Rossmo as a “beat cop” in Vancouver:
More information on Rossmo and the Vancouver downtown Eastside missing persons can be found by clicking on the links.
Patricia Pearson’s book When She Was Bad about women who murder. It’s a great read and you can order it from Amazon:
Here is Rossmo’s geographic profile of San Francisco’s Zodiac killer:
Serial killer Clifford Olsen:
The Banksy application to geographic profiling:
Michael Herr’s novel Dispatches:
The Bee Gees, Islands In The Stream:
The King Curtis cover of Procol Harum’s Whiter Shade of Pale:
My favorite Supertramp album (I hope it’s Kims!):
The Guess Who, Running Back to Saskatoon: