Lee Eun-kyung (’95, Social Studies), a medical examiner at the Seoul Metropolitan Policy Agency, stands as one of the 27 female profilers. Lee, former sergeant profiler, repeatedly checked her phone during the interview saying she needs to get right to the crime scene in case the phone rings.
“Analyzing a crime scene should be done as soon as possible after the crime was committed since the evidences might get destructed. Therefore, we need to hold ourselves in readiness for action,” Lee said.
Although it’s now hard to think of Lee without reminding her job as a profiler, before Lee was selected as a profiler through a special employment program in 2006 of Seoul Metropolitan Policy Agency, she worked as a flight attendant and a reporter of cable broadcasting program.
After a two-year career of analyzing cases and developing behavioral and personality profiles of criminals, Lee felt she reached her limit as a person who did not major criminal psychology or criminal sociology.
“I really wanted to become a professional profiler with abundant site experience and great store of forensic psychological background knowledge. Therefore, I decided to transfer to the criminal identification department,” Lee said.
Compared to other profilers searching for the invisible and psychological clues left at the scene of the crime, the department of criminal identification conducts examination based on visible clues of criminal’s whereabouts. Criminal identification process includes examination of the blood spatter patterns, DNA test, inspection of the victim’s injuries to the victim and exploiting all the pieces of possible evidence in the criminal site. After the site investigation, investigators reconstruct the crime first and draw picture of the location where the suspect might have lived or their age, sex and race.
Lee had undergone various distressful experiences in the Criminal Investigation Department for the last five years. But she emphasized that she usually gets upset when the victim is young, socially weak or a woman of her age.
“Few years ago, I remember it was my first year at the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency when two company employees of my age were kidnapped and murdered around Hongik University. I got really upset and felt victimized when I met a bereaved family at the hospital hugging each other and sobbing. Therefore, every incident I try hard to be very rational and sensible to comfort victimized souls,” Lee said.
Field teams including profilers, criminal investigators and criminologists are on call for 24 hours a day. Each department is divided into serial field teams going on duty at three-day intervals.
“Even though the work is tough, this field of career is so attractive. When I hear from others that the clues found by our team or myself played decisive role in finding a suspect, I feel compensated for all the hard working of continual three hours of sleep during the investigation,” Lee said.
With the increasing popularity toward the profiling field, more and more people are asking Lee for advice. In response to these requests, Lee shared few tips for prospective profilers: read crime stories and watch movies while trying to draw conclusion about the offenders and likely future targets of criminal. This process of guessing will help catching criminals in the future.
“It is not that glamorous as viewed in mass media. During the investigation you should bear extreme tension and control your feelings when witnessed a crime scene. But tomorrow as always I will go to the site and work reasonably to search for clues to catch murderers that may otherwise go free.”