sdarticle (2) - 1 R E C O G N I T I O N AND ACKNOWLEDGMENT...

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1 RECOGNITION AND ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF SERIA L MURDER Recognition When Recognition is Impossible Finding Similar Cases Characteristics of Serial Murder Information Sources The Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (VICAP) TracKERS HITS Scott William Cox Acknowledgment References How investigators survive the psychological rigors of investigating serial murder cases depends on the three main factors of recognition, acknowl- edgment, and control: (1) a quick and valid interpretation that one murder is related to another, (2) a reliable admission to others that a serial killer is in operation, and (3) a strategy that properly commands, staffs, and funds the investigative effort. These factors were first publicly set forth in a pro- fessional forum by retired Lieutenant Ray Biondi of the Sacramento Sheriffs Department in his presentation on the Investigation of Serial Murders at the Fifth National Conference on Homicide, Unidentified Bodies, and Missing Persons in Nashville, TN (Biondi, 1987). Among the issues most troublesome for Lt. Biondi was that he discov- ered problems routinely associated with recognition, acknowledgment, and control throughout the country. He explained why serial murders are the
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tcL ROBERT D. KEPPEL AND WILLIAM J. BIRNES worst scenario for the allocation of resources to solve a case and argued that because most departments knew this and were aware of the costs associated with previous serial murder cases, there is often a lot of resis- tance to the acknowledgment that a homicide might properly belong to a larger serial murder investigation.This resistance engenders a collective denial that ultimately can pervade the entire investigative staff. Therefore, Biondi emphasized that because the primary goal of supervisors and man- agement personnel is to catch the killer before he kills again, they must create an atmosphere in the organization where there is less bureaucratic wheel-spinning and allow the persons who will solve the case, the detectives—those "who do the spade-work"-the resources and freedom to investigate. For investigators, realizing that their department has a serial case can be extremely difficult, even in the best of circumstances. A police agency inves- tigating one victim may not know from what they immediately see at a crime scene whether that victim is the beginning or just one case in a series of murders. The case at hand may be in the middle of a killer's series. Unless the agency is or has been made aware of a series of crimes with victims who fit the same profile as the victim at their crime scene, the police may know nothing more about the homicide than what they can figure out from what they see. So the investigation may, right from the outset, lag behind the ongoing events of the case, with investigators unaware that there have been previous victims of the same killer. This happened in the Ted Bundy cases in the Pacific Northwest in 1974.
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This note was uploaded on 03/14/2011 for the course ENG 102 taught by Professor Emelbekişoğlu during the Fall '11 term at Bilkent University.

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sdarticle (2) - 1 R E C O G N I T I O N AND ACKNOWLEDGMENT...

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