Behavioural analysis unit

Special OPP unit deeply involved in Williams investigation.
Highly-specialized OPP unit credited for speedy arrest – The Globe and Mail.

Both of these articles contain some information about the Behavioural analysis units, but I wanted to know more about the training and effectiveness.

So who are the profilers, how are they trained, and how effective are they? As to the latter, one article in 2007, suggested not very. (Taking Stock of Criminal Profiling: A Narrative Review and Meta-Analysis
Snook et al. Criminal Justice and Behavior.2007; 34: 437-453) However, in that paper, the analysis included “self-described” profilers. Currently, according to an excellent article on a Government of Canada website, in
order to apply for the training program, a candidate must meet the following requirements:

Be a police officer in good standing;
Possess a minimum three years’ recent experience in the investigation of interpersonal violent crime;
Possess superior investigation skills, documented in writing, in the area of interpersonal violence;
Possess a demonstrated ability to articulate thoughts both orally and in writing;
Speak, write, understand and read English fluently;
Be approved and sponsored by an ICIAF member in good standing;
Be recommended in writing by the appropriate official of the agency employing the candidate;
The agency employing the candidate must agree to cover all training costs;
The agency employing the candidate must confirm in writing that the candidate will work primarily as an analyst for at least the final year of the training program and three years thereafter.
Once admitted to the roughly two-year program, the candidate must study or obtain training in the following areas: sex offenders and typologies, sexual homicide, legal pathology, crime scene reconstruction, homicide investigation, investigation into suspicious death, child abduction and abuse, interviews and interrogations, normal and abnormal behaviour (psychiatry and psychology), preparation of analyses, threat asses sment, arson and attempted bombings, as well as a professional development course for instructors. The candidate must also familiarize himself with media and public relations strategies, blood spatter analysis, computerized case association systems (ViCAP, ViCLAS), laboratory procedures for criminal analysis and scientific content analysis (SCAN) (ICIAF, 2005).

The candidate must also complete a minimum of six months of investigation work supervised by a member of the ICIAF or the FBI National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crimes (NCAVC), including at least two months of supervised work at NCAVC. At the end of the training, the candidate must pass an examination. The candidate is presented with a case and has thirty days to write up an analysis and prepare an oral defence before the members of an evaluation committee, whose decision must be unanimous. After one year as an associate member in good standing, an application for full fellow status may be submitted to the ICIAF (ICIAF, 2005). Canada currently has four analysts who are full fellows: two employed by the RCMP and two by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP). Three candidates are currently registered in the training program (two employed by the OPP and one by the RCMP). The Sûreté du Québec employs two analysts, but their status is unknown.
(Human Rights Commission, Government of Canada) The complete article is very interesting and is available on line at

The Williams case involved the Ontario Unit.
The advantage the profilers have now, over those in the past includes the vast amount of information available online and being gathered into databases, like ViCLAS, available to law enforcement all over the world.

A Serial Killer?

Tire tracks led police to Williams – The Globe and Mail.
This article reads like a story outline for Criminal Minds, including a behavioural analyst from the OPP. The headline says that tiretracks in the snow led to the Colonel being a suspect, so perhaps I mean CSI.
I hope that this is not a horrendous mistake, of the sort we have seen too many times in this country. Names like Morin and Marshall and Truscotte come to mind. If the Colonel is guilty, the question becomes, how did the military miss such a degree of pathology? The top brass thought he was great. What did the men and women, especially the women, think of him? And if there were complaints, who buried them? And if he is guilty, what about other countries where he was posted, and unexplained murders or assaults there? It could get deeper and uglier and much sadder.