The Psychology of Serial Killer Investigations: The Grisly Business Unit

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Academic Press, 2003 - Political Science - 232 pages
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Serial killers like Seattle's Ted Bundy, Maryland's Beltway Sniper, Atlanta's Wayne Williams, or England's Peter Sutcliffe usually outsmart the task forces on their trail for long periods of time. Keppel and Birnes take readers inside the operations of serial killer task forces to learn why. What is the underlying psychology of a serial killer and why this defeats task force investigations?

This is the first book of its kind that combines state-of-the-art psychological assessment experience with the expertise of a homicide investigator who has tracked some of this country's most notorious serial killers. The author also brings to the book hands-on best practices gleaned from the experience of other task forces.

Readers, both professionals and students, will benefit from the comprehensive and critical case reviews, the analysis of what went wrong, what went right, and the after-action recommendations of evaluators in the US, UK, and Canada.

The book covers:
* The nature of the psychology of a serial killer
* How crime assessment profiling reveals that psychology
* Why psychological profiles fail
* How serial killer task forces defeat themselves
* How the media can, and usually does, undermine the task force operation
* The big secret of all serial killer investigations: police already have the killer's name
* The best practices for catching a serial killer

* Comprehensive case reviews of some of the US's and UK's most baffling serial killer cases
* A list of best practices for serial killer task force investigators
* Recommendations for how to manage comprehensive files and computer records
* Practical advice on how to manage the media: what to say and not to say
* Insight into what a serial killer might be thinking and doing to stay away from police
* Recommendations for setting up and administering long-term investigations
* Practical tips on how to maintain a task force's psychological edge and avoid defeatism

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About the author (2003)

Robert D. Keppel, Ph.D. is the President of the Institute for Forensics in Seattle, Washington. He retired after 17 years as the Chief Criminal Investigator with the Washington State Attorney General's Office. With over 25 years of experience, he was Chief Investigator in the Ted Bundy murder cases in the Pacific Northwest. Dr. Keppel has authored a number of books and articles about serial murder. Dr. Keppel has personally investigated, reviewed, or consulted in more than 2000 murder cases. He has lectured extensively to police officers at national seminars on homicide investigation. He has testified in trial as an expert on the method of operation of serial killers, the "signature aspects" of murder investigations, and police investigations. He is the author of several articles and four books entitled: The Riverman: Ted Bundy and I Hunt the Green River Killer, published in 1995 by Pocket Books, New York, NY; Signature Killers, published in 1997 by Pocket Books, New York, NY; and Murder: A Multidisciplinary Anthology of Readings, published in 1999 by Harcourt Brace, Orlando, FL; Serial Murder: Future Implications for Police Investigations, published in 2000 by Authorlink.com. He received his Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Washington in 1992. He graduated from Washington State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Police Science and Administration in 1966 and a Master of Arts Degree in Police Science and Administration in 1967. Also, he received a Master of Education Degree from Seattle University in 1979. Dr. Keppel maintains a website for the Institute of Forensics at http://www.iff-murder.com/

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