Jana Monroe wanted to be a law enforcement officer ever since she was 13. She would go on to become the first woman to join the FBI’s elite Behavioral Science Unit.  She says her motivation is the fact that she loves the freedoms granted by our country and she hates bullies.Behavioral Science Unit

Jana began her law enforcement work as a probation officer and then joined the Chino California police department.  Women in law enforcement were still rare, and she says she was given a lot of “babysitting” jobs.

It took a class action lawsuit to get FBI to change their policies and allow women to become field agents. When Jana applied, her husband told her it was either him or the FBI. Jana chose the FBI. Her first assignment was in the Albuquerque office and many of her cases were on the reservation. This created some challenges as tribal officials at the time would not accept a woman as being in charge.

When Jana joined the Behavioral Science Unit, there were only 12 agents working those cases. She says BSU’s job is “to search for reason amidst the debris of awful violence”. During her time with the Behavioral Sciences Unit, Jana consulted on more than 850 cases, including those involving some of the worst serial killers. She shares some insights on working with some of these killers. Jana emphasizes that programs like America’s Most Wanted and Unsolved Mysteries have played a very beneficial role in helping to solve cases.

Jana was selected to consult Jodie Foster on her academy winning role in “The Silence of the Lambs.” She said Jodie was very professional and even suggested changes to the director based upon Jana’s feedback.

Jana chronicled the story of her time with the FBI in the book “Hearts of Darkness: Serial Killers, the Behavioral Science Unit, and My Life as a Woman in the FBI.’

TAKEAWAY: “I did a lot of kicking to break through the glass ceiling but I tried to do the kicking professionally and with my heels on.”