Douglas, John E
Douglas, John E.
John Douglas, who retired from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI ) after a more than twenty-five year career, was the founder and head of the FBI's Investigative Support Unit (created in 1980). Douglas is a veteran of the United States Air Force, and he holds a Doctoral degree in Education.
Douglas is a renowned expert on criminal and behavioral profiling , and is a prolific and best-selling author on the subject. Among his publications are Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit (1996) and The Cases that Haunt Us (2001). He continues to be in considerable international demand, both as a public speaker/lecturer and as an expert consultant to police departments, law enforcement agencies, and to prosecuting attorneys.
During his tenure with the FBI, Douglas earned a reputation as a widely known expert on criminal personality profiling. He has been touted as one of the pioneers of modern criminal investigative analysis, and is credited with conducting the first organized study in the United States regarding the methods and motivations of violent serial criminals. As part of that research project, he interviewed such notorious killers as James Earl Ray, Richard Speck, John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, Ed Gein, David Berkowitz, Sirhan Sirhan, and Charles Manson.
John Douglas describes the world of the criminal profiler as arduous, filled with lengthy periods of reading and studying case files, investigator's notes, autopsy and crime scene reports, examining crime scene photographs, poring over eyewitness statements, police reports, and, if possible, victim's statements. When the perpetrator's identity is unknown, these forensic scientists seek patterns in the evidence that suggest the offender's behavior and character style. They use their composite information to develop a profile of the unknown subject (UNSUB) that may be used to narrow the search for possible suspects.
Over time, the Investigative Support Unit became known as "The Mind Hunters," with John Douglas being the chief Mind Hunter. This elite FBI Unit was involved in some of the most notorious and high-profile serial and sadistic murder investigations in American history: the San Francisco Trailside Killer, the Atlanta Child Murderer, Robert Hansen (who hunted and killed prostitutes on his property in Alaska), the Tylenol Poisoner, and the Green River Killer. John Douglas has been described as a profiler who is adept at understanding the way criminals think, getting inside their minds, understanding the workings of both the predator and his prey (the vast majority of serial and sadistic killers are male). Douglas uses this information, along with examination of the crime scene, to create a profile of the perpetrator, and to attempt to predict his future behaviors. Upon the criminal's apprehension, Douglas' profile could be used to aid in structuring the processes of interrogation and prosecution. John Douglas is both a pioneer and a legendary figure in the forensic science world of criminal profiling .
see also Bundy (serial murderer) case; Careers in forensic science; Crime scene staging; Psychopathic personality; Ritual killings.