Fact Sheet - Criminal Profiling Program
The Criminal Profiling Program provides operational support on cases investigating arson and bombing with identification, arrest and prosecution of offenders by analyzing the behavior of suspects.
Criminal profilers also provides training and presentations to hundreds of police and fire personnel each year on behavioral profiling techniques and offer critical investigative support to any requesting law enforcement or fire service agency.
ATF profilers undergo an intensive two-phase training program in behavioral science principles, forensic science, pathology and crime scene analysis and interpretation.
Since 1986, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has had special agent criminal profilers assigned to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC) in Quantico, VA. The NCAVC is a behavioral science and resource center oriented for law enforcement that offers investigative support, research and training to law enforcement agencies throughout the world. Currently, ATF has two behavioral profilers assigned to the NCAVC Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU).
The primary mission of ATF behavioral profilers is to support any and all ATF investigations that need the specialized skills and knowledge they possess. In particular, arson and bombing investigations, in which they can assist in the identification, arrest and prosecution of offenders by analyzing the behavior of suspects. Profilers also offer the following services to the field:
- Crime Analysis: Linking serial crimes and accurately identifying crime-scene behavior through analysis and interpretation.
- Profiling: Developing the behavioral, personality and biographical characteristics of an unknown offender.
- Investigative Strategy: Using behavioral science principles to suggest investigative techniques in unsolved investigations.
- Interviewing Techniques: Developing interview strategies to motivate a specific individual to cooperate or confess.
- Search Warrant Assistance: Offering language for the probable cause section of an affidavit.
- Prosecution and Trial Strategies: Assisting the prosecution team with the order and examination of witnesses to maximize prosecutorial impact, case presentation, defendant cross-examination and jury selection.
- Expert Witness Testimony: Educating the court and jury on their interpretation of crime-scene behavior and evidence.
- Statement Analysis: Analyzing a subject’s language to develop interview themes and to identify possible areas of deception, hidden meanings and motivations.
- Media Strategies: Crafting language for release to media outlets to motivate an offender to communicate with authorities or elicit the cooperation of unknown witnesses or co-conspirators.
- Threat Assessment: Assessing the actual potential of an individual to act violently in a particular situation.
ATF profilers undergo an intensive two-phase training program in behavioral science principles, forensic science, pathology, and crime scene analysis and interpretation. Upon completing their training, the profilers are certified in Criminal Investigative Analysis. They continue to enhance their skills and specialties through a continuing education program consisting of presentations from visiting lecturers, attendance at advanced seminars and programs and maintaining contact with the investigative and profiling community through membership in professional organizations.
ATF profilers routinely lecture at conferences of the International Association of Arson Investigators, International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators and at regional training schools. These lectures are part of the training and presentations they give to hundreds of police and fire personnel each year on behavioral profiling techniques. Additionally, ATF profilers routinely provide support to various ATF training courses.
ATF profilers offer their services to assist in investigations for local, state and federal law enforcement or fire service agencies in the U.S. and worldwide. They also work on research projects at the NCAVC to publish articles designed to educate law enforcement, having contributed articles and studies on bombing and arson profiling in various professional publications.
In addition to ATF resources, ATF profilers have access to the NCAVC expertise and research on violent crime. They participate in studies at the NCAVC involving serial arsonists, bombers, school shooters, serial murderers, persons who engage in threatening communications, and workplace and domestic violent offenders.