Rossmo wins controversy prize

October 20, 2005, vol. 34, no. 4
By Marianne Meadahl

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Former Vancouver police officer and SFU alumnus Kim Rossmo is this year's recipient of SFU's Nora and Ted Sterling prize for controversy.

Rossmo became internationally known a decade ago when, as a graduate student at SFU, he developed geographic profiling, a computerized investigative method that links geographic information and criminals.

A research professor in the department of criminal justice at Texas State University since 2003, Rossmo earned his PhD in 1996 and left the Vancouver police force in 2001.

He is being recognized for his academic work, his handling of disputes with the Vancouver police department (which he sued for wrongful dismissal) and his advocacy positions taken in court and in the public arena on issues that included Vancouver's missing women case.

“Creativity and unconventionality, by definition, threaten established practices and ways of thinking,” Rossmo says.

“Riding past the borders of our status quo is risky. How do we know we are engaged in worthwhile pursuits and not merely tilting at windmills?

“The only answer comes from heading out and trying,” he surmises. “The Sterling prize recognizes the importance - and jeopardy - of this intellectual adventure.”

Rossmo, a former detective inspector with the Vancouver police with a 21-year career in policing, has been a leader in several national and international policing organizations. He received SFU's outstanding alumni award in 1999.

The Nora and Ted Sterling prize was established by the late Ted Sterling, a computing science professor, and his wife in 1993 to honour work that challenges complacency and provokes controversy or contributes to its understanding.

Rossmo will receive the award on, Oct. 29 during a conference on controversy, one of SFU's 40th anniversary events.

The conference, at SFU's Morris J. Wosk centre for dialogue, begins at 2 p.m. with participation of several previous Sterling prize winners.

Rossmo will receive his award and deliver his address at 6 p.m. The conference and lecture are free but reservations are required. Phone 604-291-5100 to reserve.

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