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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Criminal Investigative Analysis

Since 1986, ATF has had special agent/criminal profilers assigned to the FBI’s National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC) in Quantico, Virginia. The NCAVC is a law enforcement-oriented, behavioral science and resource center that offers investigative support, research, and training to law enforcement agencies throughout the world.

A behavioral profiler assists ATF in bombing, arson, and other violent crime investigations by analyzing and interpreting crime scene behavior and victim/witness/suspect statements, as well as assessing the personalities and risk levels of known offenders.

A geographic profiler uses an investigative methodology that analyzes the locations of connected crimes in an attempt to pinpoint the most probable area where an offender would live. ATF is the only Federal agency to have a geographic profiler.

ATF’s profilers offer their services to any bona fide law enforcement or fire service agency in the United States and the world. The profilers also work on research projects at the NCAVC in order to publish articles designed to educate law enforcement. These services include crime, statement, and threat analysis; offender and geographic profiling; investigative, prosecution, interviewing, and media strategies; and reviewing equivocal death and cold cases.

ATF profilers undergo an intensive 2-year training program in behavioral science principles, crime scene analysis and interpretation, forensic science, and pathology. Upon completion of their training, the International Criminal Investigative Analysis Fellowship certifies the profilers. The profilers continue to enhance their own skills and specialties though a continuing education program. ATF profilers provide training and presentations to thousands of police and fire personnel each year in relation to behavioral and geographic profiling techniques.

Some notable cases involving ATF profilers include the 2002 bombing of a power plant during the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City; the 2002 Washington, DC, sniper attacks; the 9/11 terrorist attacks; and the Washington, DC, serial arsonist.