Today's FBI: Law Enforcement Support & Training

The FBI works to enhance the criminal justice system’s effectiveness and efficiency at all levels—national, state, county, and municipal. One of the key ways the FBI does this is by serving as a national focal point for criminal justice information by providing accurate and timely services to local, state, federal, and international law enforcement organizations, the private sector, academia, and other government agencies.

The Bureau also provides law enforcement training for police and intelligence officials at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. A number of programs are available, each offering opportunities to educate national security professionals across the nation and around the world. Classes are highly selective and stress improving leadership skills, incorporating the latest investigative techniques, sharing best practices, and fostering an esprit de corps.

FBI Laboratory

FBI Laboratory

The FBI Laboratory was created in 1932 and today is one of the largest and most comprehensive crime laboratories in the world. In 2003, FBI Laboratory employees began moving from FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C., to the new facility in Quantico, Virginia. The Laboratory’s nearly 500,000 square foot, state-of-the-art design reveals four floors for specialized laboratories and offices and a library on the fifth floor, a 900-space parking garage, and a stand-alone central utilities plant. The facility is a model for security and evidence control with specified paths for the acceptance, circulation, and return of evidence. The Laboratory successfully achieved re-accreditation in its new facility from the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board after this significant relocation.

The Lab supports the federal and non-federal criminal justice systems by conducting scientific analyses of physical evidence; providing specialized scientific and technical support to ongoing investigations; developing an automated database of DNA patterns from evidence and/or individuals for examination and comparison; providing expert testimony in court; developing a database and network software to match and exchange images of firearms evidence from violent crimes; and providing specialized forensic science training, analysis, and technical assistance to crime laboratory personnel and crime scene training to law enforcement personnel.

Combined DNA Index System (CODIS)

CODIS blends forensic science and computer technology into a tool for linking violent crimes. It enables federal, state, and local forensic laboratories to exchange and compare DNA profiles electronically, thereby linking serial violent crimes to each other and to known offenders.

Federal Convicted Offender Program

The Federal Convicted Offender Program has been fully integrated into CODIS. As of April 2008, CODIS has achieved 68,860 investigations aided, over 50,000 total offender hits, and more than 12,000 forensic hits.

National Missing Persons DNA Program

The National Missing Person DNA Database stores the mtDNA profiles in the Combined DNA Index System Missing Person software. In FY 2004, 199 cases were reported out and 283 cases were submitted to the National Missing Person DNA Database Program for analysis. Nationally, there were 21 cases where a match was made between unidentified human remains and a biological relative of a missing person.

Terrorist Explosive Devices Analytical Center (TEDAC)

The Terrorist Explosive Devices Analytical Center was established in 2004 to serve as the single interagency organization to receive, fully analyze, and exploit all terrorist Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) of interest to the United States worldwide and to develop actionable intelligence to respond to the threat. TEDAC is co-located with the FBI Laboratory and as such leverages the FBI Laboratory’s broad-based technical and forensic capabilities along with electronic exploitation services provided through the Operational Technology Division. TEDAC has successfully made over 50 positive identifications of bomb makers since beginning operations. Since late 2006, TEDAC has received over 8,670 submissions from Iraq and Afghanistan. It has developed in excess of 2,500 latent prints with over 450 matches and associations that have forensically connected one TEDAC device to another through device construction, latent prints, trace evidence (both hairs and fibers), and by DNA.

Case Study: TEDAC

In one case, a latent print developed in January 2004 on a keyless car entry system used in an IED was matched to a specific individual taken into custody for unrelated reasons on October 30, 2004. DNA removed from this same IED component was linked to DNA recovered in another bombing. In addition, the identified individual was linked through fingerprints to a rocket attack on the al-Rashid Hotel in Iraq in October 2003.

Case Study: Chemistry Unit - Bank Robbers Convicted

Case Study

Six men went on trial in May 2005 for their participation in a series of armed, take-over-style bank robberies in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The Chemistry Unit and other units in the Laboratory processed numerous items of evidence presented at trial, including clothing and currency stained with red dye. The Chemistry Unit examiner who analyzed the evidence linked the stains to the dye packs used by the banks. The Chemistry Unit (as well as the Trace Evidence Unit) also examined duct tape seized from the subjects, while other Laboratory units processed DNA evidence, latent prints, hair and fibers, weapons, and other evidentiary items. The voluminous forensic evidence in the case helped convict the men of numerous federal offenses in addition to bank robbery.

Cryptanalysis and Racketeering Records Unit

The Cryptanalysis and Racketeering Records Unit (CRRU) examines manually encrypted documents in support of all FBI investigative programs. During 2005, CRRU examiners deciphered records and communications from street and prison gangs, violent criminals, drug traffickers, organized crime groups, and domestic terrorist groups.

Case Study: Carlie Brucia Murder

On February 1, 2004, Carlie Brucia, age 11, was abducted at a car wash in Sarasota, Florida. The abduction was captured via a video surveillance camera located at the car wash. On February 3, 2004, subsequent to the profiling of the abduction, tips led authorities to Joseph P. Smith. Smith was arrested and initially held on violation of probation charges.

During the evening hours of February 5, 2004, the body of Carlie Brucia was found behind a church, located approximately three miles from where she had been abducted. She was found lying face up on the edge of a shrub line, wearing only a red shirt, a bra, and a sock, with bruising around her neck consistent with that of strangulation. The following morning Smith was charged with the kidnapping and subsequent murder of Carlie Brucia.

In August 2005, the FBI’s Tampa Field Office requested CRRU assistance in deciphering an encrypted letter written by Joseph Smith to his brother. Smith enciphered the message by replacing letters of the alphabet with a series of one- or two-character combinations of numerals and symbols. To further complicate decryption, he wrote the message from right to left, starting at the bottom of the page and working his way up. Despite these obstacles, CRRU examiners were able to quickly decipher the message, which contained incriminating references to hiding evidence and moving the body.

In all, the Laboratory received more than 100 items for analysis. A DNA Analysis Unit I examiner extracted a full 13-locus male profile from a semen stain found on Carlie Brucia’s shirt. The DNA profile from Joseph Smith matched the profile from the evidence, and he was determined to be the source of that DNA. In November 2005, a CRRU examiner presented the decryption evidence at Smith’s trial and a DNA examiner testified to the DNA evidence. On November 17, 2005, the jury convicted Smith in the abduction and murder of Carlie Brucia.

Law Enforcement Training Opportunities

National Academy

FBI Academy

Since 1935, the FBI has offered the National Academy program to experienced law enforcement managers nominated by their agency heads because of their leadership qualities. It serves to improve the administration of justice in police departments and agencies domestically and internationally and to raise law enforcement standards, knowledge, and cooperation worldwide. The 10-week multidisciplinary program is accredited by the University of Virginia. Courses offered include intelligence theory, understanding terrorism, management science, law, behavioral science, law enforcement communication, and forensic science. More than 40,000 police managers have graduated from the FBI National Academy from every U.S. state and from over 150 foreign nations.

National Executive Institute (NEI)

The National Executive Institute (NEI) is the premier executive training venue in the FBI and has been in existence for nearly 30 years. Students attend three week-long sessions throughout the year. NEI provides strategic leadership development, current affairs, and liaison at the highest levels of the FBI and the largest U.S. and international law enforcement agencies.

Attendees must be agency heads of a department with over 500 sworn officers serving a population of over 250,000. The NEI works collaboratively with Major Cities Chiefs, Major County Sheriffs, NEI associates, and others.

Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar

Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar

The Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar (LEEDS) is similar to NEI in that it targets the heads of law enforcement agencies. The scope is to serve smaller departments that oversee between 50 and 4999 sworn officers.

International Training and Assistance

The FBI provides law enforcement training programs for international police personnel in an effort to successfully combat and prevent terrorist acts against citizens and institutions of the U.S., both abroad and domestically.

These programs are designed to establish, strengthen, and enhance FBI police liaison and cooperation aimed at securing our operational and strategic objectives by training select international police officials to identify terrorists and other organized crime groups, track their financing, and use intelligence information to prevent acts of terrorism.

Courses offered include organized crime, terrorist crime scene investigation, and auto-theft, among others. The FBI also administers an International Law Enforcement Academy in Budapest, Hungary, and supports a second Academy in Bangkok, Thailand. The curriculum of both International Academies are based on the FBI National Academy model.

Operational Technology Division

The Operational Technology Division provides state-of-the-art technical and tactical services in support of investigators and the Intelligence Community, such as electronic surveillance, cyber technology, and wireless and radio communications, as well as the development of new investigative technologies and techniques and the training of technical agents and personnel. It also provides visual media in the Counterintelligence, Counterterrorism, Criminal Investigative and Cyber programs.

Criminal Justice Information Services Division (CJIS)

Criminal Justice Information Services Division (CJIS)

The FBI’s CJIS is located on a 986-acre campus in Clarksburg, West Virginia. The FBI’s largest division, CJIS was established in February 1992 to serve as the focal point and central repository for criminal justice information services in the FBI. The Division is responsible for the management of five major programs: The Fingerprint Identification Program, National Crime Information Center (NCIC), National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), Law Enforcement Online (LEO), and the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program.

CJIS’ mission is to reduce terrorist and criminal activities by maximizing the ability to provide timely and relevant criminal justice information to the FBI and to qualified law enforcement, criminal justice, civilian, academic, employment, and licensing agencies concerning individuals, stolen property, criminal organizations and activities, and other law enforcement-related data.

Fingerprint Identification

The FBI maintains the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), a state-of-the-art automated system which accepts fingerprint submissions and related transactions electronically and processes them; serves as a repository for criminal history records, which are accessed by users when searching for arrest record information; and maintains the FBI’s national database of fingerprint features. The IAFIS has the database of fingerprint features and the capability to process up to 62,500 10-print fingerprint searches and 635 latent fingerprint searches daily.

Case Study: Fingerprint IdentificationMurder of Judge's Mother and Husband

On February 28, 2005, U.S. District Court Judge Joan Lefkow returned home to find her mother, Donna Humphrey, and her husband, Michael Lefkow, murdered. The Chicago Police Department processed the initial crime scene, which yielded several items of evidence, including a broken window and a window pane from the point of entry. These items were submitted to the FBI and the Illinois State Police (ISP) laboratories for processing and yielded 12 latent fingerprints of value. The latent fingerprints eliminated four suspects and seven other individuals; however, no identifications were made. Numerous searches of the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) also produced no identifications.

On March 9, 2005, police officers in Wisconsin performed a traffic stop on a van. As they approached the vehicle, the driver shot and killed himself. In a suicide note found in the van, the driver admitted to killing Humphrey and Lefkow. At the request of the FBI’s Chicago Field Office and the ISP, an LPOU examiner was assigned to process the crime scene and develop any blood evidence for which previous crime scene teams had not been equipped. The LPOU examiner developed blood pattern evidence that was used to corroborate the details set forth in the suspect’s suicide note.

Known fingerprints obtained from the suspect following his suicide matched a latent fingerprint developed on the inside of the window used to enter the Lefkow home.

National Crime Information Center (NCIC)


NCIC is a nationwide computerized database of documented criminal justice information available to virtually every law enforcement agency nationwide and beyond, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It enables more than 90,000 agencies at all levels of government to access a computerized index of documented criminal justice information on crimes and criminals, and it includes locator-type files on missing and unidentified persons.

The FBI administers the “host computer” at the CJIS facility in West Virginia, and its information is updated daily by agencies in all 50 states, D.C., the Virgin Islands, Guam, and Canada. NCIC averages 5.5 million transactions per day. The database includes 18 files: seven property files and 11 person files.

  • Gun Filerecords stolen and recovered weapons that are designated to expel a projectile by air, carbon dioxide, or explosive action
  • Boat Filerecords for stolen boats, boat trailers, or boat parts
  • Securities Filerecords for serially-numbered stolen, embezzled, used for ransom, or counterfeit securities.
  • Vehicle Fileassists in the recovery of a stolen vehicle, a vehicle involved in the commission of a crime, or a stolen part
  • Vehicle and boat partsrecords for serially-numbered stolen vehicle or boat parts
  • License Plate Filerecords stolen license plates, acts as an early warning to police officers during traffic stops
  • Missing Persons Fileprovides a centralized computerized system to help law enforcement locate individuals, including children, who are not “wanted” on any criminal charges
  • Foreign Fugitive Filerecords for persons wanted by another country for a crime that would be a felony if it were committed in the U.S.
  • Identity Theft Filecontains records for victims of identity theft with descriptive and other information that law enforcement personnel can use to determine if an individual is a victim of identity theft of if the individual might be using a false identity
  • Immigration Violator Filecontains records for criminal aliens whom immigration authorities have deported for drug or firearms trafficking, serious violent crimes, or both
  • Protection Order Filerecords for unidentified deceased persons, living persons who are unable to verify their identities, unidentified victims of catastrophes, and recovered body parts
  • Supervised Release Filecontains records for individuals who are under specific restrictions during their probation, parole, supervised release, or pre-trial sentencing periods
  • Unidentified Persons Filecross-references unidentified bodies against records in the Missing Persons File
  • U.S. Secret Service Protective Filemaintains names and other information on individuals who are believed to pose a threat to the President and/or others afforded protection by the USSS
  • Violent Gang and Terrorist Organizations Filebecame operational in 1995 to identify violent gangs and their members. Also contains records about terrorist organizations and their members.
  • Wanted Persons Filerecords individuals (including juveniles who will be tried as adults) for whom a federal warrant, a felony, or serious misdemeanor warrant is outstanding
  • Fingerprint Searchesstores and searches on the right index fingerprint. Search inquiries compare the print to all fingerprint data on file (wanted persons and missing persons)
  • Convicted Sexual Offender Registryrecords individuals who are convicted sexual offenders or violent sexual predators

National Instant Criminal Background Check System

The Brady Act requires a background check on all persons who attempt to purchase a firearm. The FBI established the NICS Operation Center to enforce the provisions of the Brady Act and to manage, operate, and support NICS. The NICS mission is to enforce the Brady Act through a system that ensures the timely transfer of firearms to individuals who are not specifically prohibited under federal law and that denies the transfer to those who are prohibited from possessing or receiving a firearm. The FBI conducts NICS background checks for all firearms purchases for 27 states and territories and for long-gun purchases in 11 states.

Uniform Crime Reporting Program

This is a nationwide cooperative effort of city, county, and state law enforcement to report crimes. The Crime Index consists of eight crimes: violent crimes of murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault; property crimes of burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft; and arson. The program issues an annual report called “Crime in the United States” that is intended to measure changes in the overall volume and rate of crime. You can purchase this report from the U.S. Government Printing Office in either hard copy or CD-ROM. This publication is also available online at

Fact & Figures home