So You Want to Be a Profiler

So you want to be a Profiler? Well, Ralph Stone has some suggestions for you. In a very animated discussion for the X track, Mr. Stone (special agent of the GBI Crime Analysis Unit) painted a seductively gruesome picture of what a Profiler does. Contrary to TV shows, profiling is much more art than science. Profilers deal less with the usual suspects of DNA and fingerprints and more with (mis)behavioral evidence such as what was done where, and it is based very strongly on assumptions.

He quipped: “The only people who know what happened in a homicide are the victim, the offender and God.” Since speaking with offenders and God is not usually successful, profiling is based very much on what the victim can tell us, known as victimology. This is the process of examining the body, the wounds inflicted, the position of the corpse and many more subtle details. Who was the victim? Why them? Were they living a “high risk” lifestyle? It’s also the interpretation of emotional gestures, as imprinted on the victim’s body.

He lists three important things to be a Profiler. The first is life experiences. The more you know, and have done, the more you can understand what people are doing, and perhaps, why. This field is one where you finally get to take credit for your mistakes, as they allow you to recognize the mistakes of others. The second is experience as a law

enforcement officer. Unless you’ve done fifteen years in the trenches, and seen every thing there is to see, you won’t have the experience necessary to do the synthesizing that profilers do. Third, you need education, as much as you can get your hands on, in as many fields as possible, this allows the Profiler to make the necessary intuitive leaps.

Where else but X Track would you learn that most victims killed by someone they know are left face down (or otherwise brutalized to depersonalize the corpse)? And if your curious to learn more about the stories the dead can tell us, be sure to check out Forensic Pathology 101, at 1pm in the Piedmont Room.

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