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Federal Bureau of Investigation: History

The Structure Of The Modern F.b.i.

As of 2000, the F.B.I. had approximately 11,400 Special Agents and over 16,400 other employees. About 10,000 employees were assigned to the F.B.I. headquarters in Washington, D.C., while the remainder were assigned to field installations. The total annual budget for the F.B.I. approximates three billion dollars. The F.B.I. is headed by a director and supported by a deputy director. There are eleven assistant directors. F.B.I. field offices are located in fifty-six major cities (fifty-five in the United States, one in Puerto Rico). Each field office is supervised by a Special Agent in Charge (SAC), except in Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington, D.C., where the office is supervised by an Assistant Director in Charge (ADIC). F.B.I. field offices conduct business through the field office headquarters and through satellite offices. To facilitate investigations abroad, the F.B.I. maintains a network of Legal Attache Offices. These offices are located in U.S. embassies in thirty-eight countries around the world (F.B.I., 1999).

The F.B.I. provides numerous types of assistance and support to local police agencies. For example, the F.B.I. crime laboratory is a full-service forensic science laboratory that provides scientific examinations free of charge to any law enforcement agency (given the existence of state operated and funded crime laboratories, local agencies rely primarily on them for their forensic analysis needs). Analysis capabilities include documents, fingerprints, DNA, explosives, firearms, tool marks, toxicology, and tire treads, among others. The laboratory also maintains databases on everything from types of shoe prints and lipstick to types of feathers and rope (F.B.I., 1999).

The F.B.I. also maintains and operates the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). Established in 1967, its purpose is to maintain a computerized filing system of criminal justice information (stolen vehicles, guns, missing persons, etc.) available through a computer network. On average, approximately 1.3 million inquiries are made every day from the over 100,000 terminals located in police agencies across the country (F.B.I., 1999).

The F.B.I. offers training assistance to law enforcement agencies through the F.B.I. National Academy and other training programs. The curriculum of the National Academy includes college courses in law, management, forensic science, and health and fitness, among other disciplines. Since 1935, over thirty thousand students have graduated from the academy.

The F.B.I. also provides other types of operational assistance to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies (see F.B.I., 1999, for a complete list of services provided). For instance, through the Child Abduction and Serial Killer Unit (CASKU), agents provide psychological profiles of offenders and offer other investigative assistance. The Critical Incident Response Group (CIRG) provides training and operational support in crisis management and hostage negotiations situations. The F.B.I. Hostage Rescue Team and SWAT Programs are part of the CIRG. Evidence Response Teams (ERTs) are located in each field office and specialize in organizing and conducting evidence recovery operations from crime scenes.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal LawFederal Bureau of Investigation: History - Before The Beginning Of The F.b.i., The Beginning Of The F.b.i.