Robert Kenneth Ressler, 76, of Spotsylvania County died Sunday, May 5, 2013 at his home.
Robert was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, and was the son of the late Joseph and Gertrude Ressler. He graduated from Schurz High School, Class of 1955, and Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, with Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in 1962 and 1968, respectively.
Robert enlisted in the US Army and served in Okinawa from 1957 – 1959. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Military Police Corps in 1962. He served in Europe, the US, and Southeast Asia as a Provost Marshal, Criminal Investigation Supervisor and Military Police Operations and Intelligence Officer. He was awarded two Meritorious Service Medals and two Army Commendation Medals w/oak leaf clusters, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, the National Defense Medal, and other decorations and awards for outstanding service. He was discharged in 1970 at the rank of Major. He continued in the US Army Reserves with the US Amy Criminal Investigation Command in Washington DC, and returned to active duty during Operation Desert Storm. Finally, he served as Commander of the 1074th Theater Army Support Group, Richmond, Virginia. He retired from the US Army Reserves in 1992 with 35 years of service, at the rank of Colonel.
In 1970, he entered on duty with the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a Special Agent and served in Chicago, New Orleans, and Cleveland in the investigation of criminal matters including interstate thefts, forgeries and securities fraud, pornography and organized crime. He was a counselor for the 96th Session of the FBI National Academy at Quantico, VA in 1974 and was promoted to Supervisory Special Agent and assigned to the Behavioral Science Unit as a Criminologist/Instructor. He taught and researched in the areas of criminology, abnormal criminal psychology, hostage negotiation, threat assessment, criminal personality profiling, crime scene assessment, and criminal investigative analysis. He served as a Hostage Negotiation Instruction Coordinator from 1977 through 1978, supervising hostage negotiation training for FBI agents and local police throughout the US and abroad. He also served as program manager of the Research and Development Program, researching serial murder, rapists, child abductors and other violent criminal offenders. This research was funded by the US Department of Justice in conjunction with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and several major universities. His research culminated in his publication of six books, as well as numerous articles in various professional journals. He also developed the FBI’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (VICAP) and served as its first program manager from 1984 to 1988. In addition, he was among several key personnel who developed the FBI’s Criminal Personality Profiling program and the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC). He retired from the FBI with twenty years of service on August 31, 1990.
Robert then became Director of Forensic Behavioral Services International (FBSI), a Virginia based organization dedicated to training, lecturing, consultation and expert witness testimony in the areas of violent criminal behavior, criminal personality profiling and crime scene assessment, sexual assaults, threat assessment, and hostage negotiation. FBSI has conducted business throughout the US and abroad with academic, corporate, legal, government, law enforcement and military organizations. He taught hundreds of courses to law enforcement agencies, universities, medical schools, and lectured to professional groups throughout the US and in many foreign countries, to include: Austria, England, Scotland, Germany, Liechtenstein, Poland, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, St. Croix USVI, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.
In addition to membership and active participation in dozens of professional organizations, Robert held visiting and adjunct faculty affiliations with many major academic institutions nationally and internationally, including:
- Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Georgetown University, Washington DC.
- Adjunct Assistant Professor, School of Criminal Justice, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.
- Adjunct Faculty, University of Virginia, Department of Continuing Education, Charlottesville, VA.
- Research Fellow/Consultant, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing, Philadelphia, PA.
- Instructor, US Army Criminal Investigation Command, Falls Church VA.
- Visiting Faculty, Departments of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, University of Dundee, Dundee, Scotland.
- Visiting Faculty, Bramshill British Police College, National Crime Faculty, Bramshill, Basingstoke, England
- Visiting Faculty, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, DC.
- Visiting Faculty, George Mason University, Prince William County, Virginia
Robert received numerous awards and commendations throughout his lifetime, including:
- The Jefferson Award: University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA. 1st Award: 1985/86 for the Criminal Personality Research Project. 2nd Award: 1987/88 for publication of Sexual Homicide: Patterns & Motives.
- Amicus Award: The American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 1991, “In recognition of devoted service and numerous contributions over many years.”
- Psychiatry & Behavioral Science Section Award: the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, Section of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science, 1995.
- Carl Schurz High School: Chicago, Illinois, Hall of Fame Inductee, 2000.
- Queen Sofia Center’s Silver Medal Award: Queen Sofia Center for the Study of Violence, Valencia, Spain, “for excellence in research and work in the area of serial homicide and sexual aggression,” 2003.
- Michigan State University, School of Criminal Justice: East Lansing, Michigan, Wall of Fame Inductee, 2005.
- The Vidocq Halbert E. Fillinger Lifetime Achievement Award: the Vidocq Society, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, “for a Lifetime of Distinguished Service in Homicide Investigation,” 2007.
- American Academy of Forensic Sciences John R. Hunt Award: In recognition of Outstanding Contribution to Forensic Science, 2009.
Survivors include his wife Helen Grazer Ressler; son, Lt. Col. Aaron R. Ressler and wife Lori of Colorado Spings, Co.; two daughters, Allison R. Tsiumis and husband Joel of Ashburn and Betsy S. Hamlin and husband Jeff of Stafford County; sister, Lynn D. Stephenson and husband Carden of WI; grandchildren Robert Michael Dunham, Sophia Alena Ressler, Erica Lynn Thomas, and step-grandchildren Joseph Alan Hamlin and Steven Paul Hamlin.
The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 14, at Covenant Funeral Service, Fredericksburg.
A service will be held at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 15, at the funeral home with the Rev. Terrance A. Naumann officiating. Burial will be in Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.
Memorials may be made to Parkinson’s disease Foundation of the National Capitol Area,7700 Leesburg Pike, Ste. 208, Falls Church, VA 22043.