A Resolute, Persistent Woman Entrepreneur With A Passion for Justice
A female criminal profiler, successful author, prominent TV commentator and owner of Pat Brown Criminal Profiling Agency, Pat Brown shared her experience with FiftyIsTheNewForty.com on the challenge of undertaking a midlife career change in a very unique field! The author of The Profiler: My Life Hunting Serial Killers and Psychopaths, her experience in the world of criminal profiling wasn’t something she ever planned on! Ms. Brown’s enthusiasm and ‘stick to-it-iveness” is inspirational for all 50-something women looking for a new career path, or just wondering what on earth may come next in their lives!
Q. Do you feel you would have ended up in a similar career of you hadn’t had the experience with your suspicious tenant that you describe in your book The Profiler: My Life Hunting Serial Killers and Psychopaths?
A. Absolutely not! Although I was a fan as a teenager of Sherlock Holmes, I was happy raising my children, homeschooling them, and working as a medical sign language interpreter. I don’t think it would ever have occurred to me to become a profiler if I hadn’t become involved in trying to bring to justice the killer of the murdered young woman jogger that I suspected might be the man living in my house. I figured when my kids were grown, I would like to do some work overseas in either India or Bangladesh teaching Deaf children. I still would like to do that, but I have a lot of work to do in criminal profiling so that might have to wait until I am seventy! Luckily, the Peace Corps accept volunteers into the eighties.
Q. You do a lot of bro bono work, particularly through the Sexual Homicide Exchange – is that the most rewarding part of your job?
A. I truly love profiling. I like the puzzle of analyzing the evidence and figuring out exactly what happened, what kind of crime it was, what the perpetrator did, and how we can get good leads to focus in on the right person. I also like getting answers for people, families of victims, who often never get a clear picture of what occurred.
Q. Do you think being a woman gives you an advantage in this field? Does more life experience make for a better judge of character, or a better ability to assess character?
It IS interesting that many think women are too tenderhearted for this kind of work, but, in reality, I think women, especially those who have raised families are pretty good at seeing people for who they are. And, oddly, because more perpetrators are men, sometimes male detectives have a hard time envisioning a “guy who likes the same sports team” doing such things and miss the clues that the man sitting across the table from them is not a nice guy, but a rapist and murderer. Of course, great detectives and profilers can be of any sex as long as they are logical and objective. As to age, I think the more you know about life, the better off you are understanding personalities and behaviors, naiveté having flown the coop a couple of decades ago.
Q. The field you are in must be both emotionally and physically challenging – does it get more difficult as time goes by? What has been the most interesting or demanding case you’ve been involved with?
A. The most emotionally difficult part of profiling is putting together a solid analysis based on evidence only to have a police department unwilling to move forward with a case due to politics and egos. I get frustrated not seeing justice for the families and the victims and knowing the killer is still out on the street. I think one of the most interesting cases I have run into was a double homicide involving a female whose boyfriend heard the beginning of the homicide on the telephone and the police chief who went to rescue her and ended up dead as well. The case had previously been misprofiled as a sexual homicide interrupted by the police chief showing up. I found the evidence pointed to the estranged husband and the pieces of evidence that made it look like a sexual homicide where just odd coincidences. Sadly, the case remains open because of the politics that surrounded it years ago.
Q. Like many successful women, you started a little later in the game with a career for which you have incredible passion and an amazingly strong commitment. Any suggestions for other “grown-up gals” considering an entrepreneurial path or interest in pursuing a career road less traveled?
My thinking is “I am alive” and I am going to live life, not act like it is already over! Yes, it IS tougher to get into a field later in life because ageism is a major problem in this country. However, there are a lot of things that make doing what you want difficult at any age and if you want to do something you simply must fight to overcome the roadblocks. It is also good to remember that we can do forms of things we are interested in; we don’t always have to be a star or a CEO to enjoy working in a field. So, if you have a specific interest, start picking away at it, reading, researching, volunteering, working in any aspect of the field. As you learn more and more and make connections with others in your specialty, you will find your opportunities increase. And you never know where the road will take you! I never expected to be on television or that I would become an author or develop the first criminal profiling program in the country. I never thought I would get to take free cruises in exchange for speaking on criminal profiling! Any pursuit becomes an adventure and thats what I call living.
Q. You are among the few prominent women in this field over the age of 50. You are a successful profiler, author, consultant and teacher…what is next for you?
I have a lot I want to accomplish, so I am planning on being interviewed for the 100 is the new 90 blog! I am working on The Pat Brown School of Criminal Profiling because I want to get many new profilers into the field working in every major police department in the country. I want to make the field of Deductive Criminal Profiling one with certification and standards. I want to see the closure of open cases improve and predators taken off the streets. And, for fun, I am working on a mystery series featuring, you guessed it, a female criminal profiler!