Former VPD Geographic Profiler Finds Little Solace In Pickton Report
Presented Here By
Bonnie M. Wells
Kim Rossmo when he headed the Vancouver Police Department's geographic profiling unit.
photograph by: File, Vancouver Sun
By all rights, Kim Rossmo should be feeling better about things.
His early warnings that a serial killer was stalking women on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside — warnings that were largely ignored by his Vancouver police bosses at the time — have now been called "uncannily accurate" by that same police department.
A review of the missing women investigation by Vancouver police Deputy Chief Doug LePard concludes that the department should have given more weight to Rossmo's analysis, saying if it had, it might have dedicated more resources to the investigation.
Instead, Rossmo, a geographic profiler who had consulted on serial killer investigations around the world, was underused on the investigation, LePard found. Eventually, the department chose not to renew Rossmo's contract, and he sued unsuccessfully for wrongful dismissal.
"It is ironic that one of the positions taken by the VPD at Detective Inspector Rossmo's civil trial was that there was insufficient work, i.e. serial predatory offenders, to justify a full-time geographic profiler, and that the majority of his work was for other police agencies," LePard writes. "However, there was a serial offender of the worst type operating in Vancouver, and the failure to recognize this meant that an important resource that could have been applied much more intensely was relegated to a minor role."
But while Rossmo says he feels vindicated by the report, any pleasure is tempered by the knowledge that police failed to catch serial killer Robert Pickton sooner and that the deaths of more than a dozen women might have been prevented.
"It's hard to feel good for any length of time in this whole tragedy," he said in a telephone interview from Texas State University, where he is a professor.
The important thing now, he says, is to learn from the mistakes, and commit to fixing the problems identified in LePard's report. In order to do that, Rossmo said it's crucial that the B.C. government appoint an independent, knowledgeable person to lead any inquiry or review.
"I would like to see the province have a focused inquiry — one that doesn't serve as a huge waste of money and [go] all over the place — but one that looks at some key issues by a respectable and knowledgeable judge," he said.
One of the most pressing issues, he said, is the patchwork system of municipal departments and RCMP detachments on the Lower Mainland and Greater Victoria. LePard concludes that many of the jurisdictional barriers that helped derail the Pickton investigation would have been moot if there had been a regional police force on the Lower Mainland.
"No one would ever design a policing system that had multiple agencies responsible for one metropolitan area," Rossmo said. "You'd never do that, so the reason we have it is a product of history, chance and politics.... I don't think the provincial government has ever done a really proper, thorough analysis of this subject."
Rossmo also agrees with LePard that B.C. also has been slow to adopt the lessons of serial killer cases in other jurisdictions, such Archie Campbell's 1996 report on the Paul Bernardo case in Ontario. Campbell recommended common case-management computer software for police agencies, and Ontario has forged ahead on that front.
B.C., meanwhile, still has no provincial standard for electronic case-management software, and different agencies are still using different applications, LePard found.
Rossmo said if B.C. fails to act on LePard's recommendations, or to undertake a serious, independent review of policing issues, "that would be the final chapter in a long book filled with horrible chapters.
"These women were probably victimized at some level and forced onto the street. Then they were victimized by Pickton. They were ignored by the police. If the government ignores the only positive thing that could come out of this, that would be just horrible."
I wrote to Mr. Rossmo about 'our' serial killer here in Ohio, and the eastern states, on August 25, 2010:
I will let everyone know if I ever receive an answer.
Meanwhile, I too hope everyone has learned something from the Pickton case, and that includes law enforcement here in the United States.
When people are being murdered, and in many cases their bodies are not being found for months, and sometimes years; and when those bodies are found miles away from where the person disappeared, there's a chance that a serial killer is at work.
And, after several years have gone by, and there have been few, if any arrests, someone needs to look at the cases to see if there are 'common denominators' and it should not matter from which state the victim comes, or even which state she [and sometimes he] is found in. Eventually, jurisdiction must take a backseat to common decency and integrity.
It should not matter who - what department - what branch of law enforcement works the cases ..... let everyone work them. Put your information into a data system and allow ALL branches of law enforcement from any and all states to access it. Oh, I know, I've heard that this is already being done. Is it?
There is information on this web site that would curl the hair of the toughest person among us, and yet, no one seems to give a hoot in hell as to who murdered these people.
Some of 'my girls' were hookers too .... some were housewives .... some were school girls, store clerks and restaurant workers. Does it matter what they did? Does it matter who they were? Not to me, it doesn't. I never did care, and I never will.
All I've ever cared about is stopping whoever is killing our people.
I don't want to argue with anyone anymore, and I don't think I'm going to.
They can either accept my information, or they can call me crazy and reject it. Doesn't matter anymore .... hasn't for a long time .... but the day will come, just as it came for Pickton, that my suspect will get caught, and when he does, this web site will stand as testimony to the families and friends of all the victims, and they will not lose their law suits for wrongful deaths due to negligence. They will not lose. It's bad enough that they have been losing their loved ones since 1993, and it could have all been stopped then.
I tried then ..... I've tried hundreds of times since ...... I'm trying again ..... someone needs to look at the cases profiled on my web site, because all the obscure connections to my suspect just can't be coincidence .... there's just too much to be coincidence.
October 2010: There has been no response of any kind from Mr. Rossmo. What goes round, comes round - and sometimes I know why. / Bonnie
The Pickton Series
This page was posted / updated: August // October 2010 by BMW: