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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Explosives Enforcement

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is the Federal agency primarily responsible for administering and enforcing the criminal and regulatory provisions of the Federal laws pertaining to destructive devices (bombs), explosives, and arson. Over nearly 40 years, ATF has developed scientifically proven investigative capabilities, expertise, and resources that have positioned ATF as the Nation’s primary source for explosives and fire investigative knowledge and assistance.

Accelerant and Explosives Detection Canines
Canines specially trained to detect explosives, explosives residue, and accelerants to assist law enforcement.
Certified Explosives Specialists
ATF’s primary resource for explosives enforcement and investigation related matters.
Criminal Investigative Analysis
ATF’s criminal profilers offer their assistance in geographic and behavioral profiling to law enforcement agencies around the world.
Explosive Enforcement Officers
ATF’s technical resource for destructive device determinations, military ordnance, bomb disposal, render safe and disassembly operations, and expert witness testimony.
Explosive Research and Development
ATF studies emerging technologies for identifying and detecting explosives and explosives effects, behavior, and devices.
International and National Response Teams
Veteran special agents with post blast and origin-cause expertise who help Federal, State, and local investigators meet the challenges of significant arson and explosive incidents.
National Explosives Task Force (NETF)
The NETF is the central communication and coordination point for ATF and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), at the Headquarters level, for explosives response coordination and intelligence matters.

Crimes involving arson and explosives are the most devastating crimes confronting our society. They destroy property, disrupt human lives, and place an ever increasing economic burden upon our citizens. The increasing number of violent acts involving arson and explosives has established a greater need for State and local investigators with a high level of expertise.

In response to this problem, and by virtue of its statutory authority under Title XI of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, ATF initiates investigations and assists in State and local bomb and arson investigations. ATF’s experience in these investigations has shown that a cooperative effort between trained State and local officers and ATF results in more effective investigations.

In order for law enforcement to adequately combat these violations, cooperation among Federal, state, and local agencies is essential to achieve this coordinated effort. As part of this cooperative effort, ATF offers training in arson and explosives for state and local investigators and prosecutors. Click here for a copy of the State and Local Training Registration Request.

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What is BATS?

The Bomb Arson Tracking System (BATS) is a web-based case management system which provides you, State and local arson & explosives investigators, access to up-to-date arson and explosives investigative data from across the nation at no charge. Unlike anything you may currently use, it's not just limited to your local jurisdiction or state. BATS provides you access to national arson and explosives incident information.

How Does BATS Work?

BATS is a secure, user friendly, web-based computer application. All you need is a browser and an Internet connection to use it. BATS is available to you around the clock. The BATS interface is easy to use; you enter case information into clearly identified data entry fields, and easily click dropdown menu selections. You can share your arson and explosives incidents with other BATS users across the country, and you can search and analyze national data to discover trends, patterns, and leads. You can also use BATS to create a variety of reports customized to your needs, and track and report incidents to justify budget requests. BATS is agency-administered and reports are printed with your agency’s letterhead. BATS is also part of the national curriculum at the Hazardous Devices School (bomb technicians) at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama and the National Fire Academy’s Fire/Arson Origin-and-Cause Investigations course in Emmitsburg, MD. In addition, BATS is part of the FBI’s “Model for Bomb Squad Standard Operating Procedures” (SOPs).

Features & Benefits

BATS features state-of-the-art case management technology. Users are able to capture details of explosives and fire cases, including improvised explosive device (IED) components, incendiary devices, origin-and-cause or device placement, suspect information, casualties, dollar losses, fire descriptors, collateral crimes, witness interviews, juvenile firesetters, and descriptions of how a device was delivered. BATS is separate from the NFIRS database. NFIRS reports the fire department suppression efforts; BATS documents the follow-up investigation. BATS allows users to search for case similarities nationwide to discover whether the same individual, IED, or arson is related to an investigation in another jurisdiction.

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