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Our People and Capabilities

Our People and Capabilities

Evidence Response Team member rapelling down a pine wall
Since crime scenes can be anywhere,
our evidence teams are trained
to reach tough places.

Our people in Chicago possess a mix of talents and experience that enable us to help protect you, your families, and your workplaces from a full range of national security threats and major crime problems.

Our people are not only special agents, but also a variety of specialized professionals such as intelligence and financial analysts, investigative specialists, support services technicians, language specialists, paralegals, electronics technicians, and security experts.

Our strength lies in our investigations—the very heart of our operations—and in the collection, analysis, and sharing of intelligence that drives and supports those investigations both locally and nationally. In every case, we work to objectively gather the facts and to develop evidence that can stand up in a court of law. To do that, we can interview witnesses, run undercover operations, analyze financial records, map and manage crime scenes, develop informants, make arrests, conduct surveillance, and gather information and intelligence from around the globe. Our cases today are often complex and multi-faceted, involving a range of public and private sector partners and covering multiple jurisdictions.

Among our specialized capabilities:

  • Evidence recovery and processing: In Chicago, we have four 10-member Evidence Response Teams made up of special agents who are sent to crime scenes to secure the area and exhaustively gather and process physical evidence. Each team member has been extensively trained. They can take photographs, diagram and survey scenes, gather fingerprints, determine bullet trajectories, recover DNA, gather and process the smallest of clues, and more. The teams coordinate with the FBI Laboratory and assist local law enforcement upon request.
  • Computer forensics: We also have a Computer Analysis and Response Team, or CART, that applies this same evidentiary concept to the digital world. These forensic examiners are experts at retrieving evidence from a vast array of digital devices, at processing that evidence in a way that maintains its integrity for use in court, and at presenting the results of their findings to investigators. We also provide examiners to the Chicago Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory—see the Partnerships webpage for details.
  • Tactical support and crisis response: We have an enhanced SWAT (Specialized Weapons and Tactics) team that can storm barricaded buildings and vehicles, breach locks and other structures, arrest armed and dangerous criminals, rescue hostages, patrol areas and provide security, navigate tough terrains by climbing and rappelling, use special techniques to stop fleeing cars, and conduct site surveys for special events. The team is highly trained and heavily equipped, with expertise in a variety of weapons, including pistols, assault and sniper rifles, and shotguns. Team members also have emergency medical training and are familiar with both aviation and maritime issues.
  • Bomb recovery and analysis: We have four special agent bomb technicians in Chicago who—with the help of an explosive detection K-9—can test and render safe a variety of explosive devices. These bomb techs respond to calls of suspicious packages or objects and are deployed during bombing investigations, often working closely with our Joint Terrorism Task Force. They gather diagnostic information from the explosives that may be relayed as vital intelligence to local investigators and to the national Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center. Our bomb techs often work and train with local first responders and law enforcement.
  • Hazardous materials: We have a 16-member HAZMAT team that can respond to terrorist attacks and criminal incidents involving hazardous materials—including chemical, biological, and radiological—working in concert with local officials and with Weapons of Mass Destruction experts at FBI Headquarters.
  • Translation: Our group of language specialists can translate written documents and audio files in a variety of languages for terrorism, espionage, and criminal cases. They also join agents on cases, translating during live interviews and even during undercover operations.

For more information on FBI and its capabilities, see our About Us webpage.