Home Minneapolis About Us Our People and Capabilities

Our People and Capabilities

Our People and Capabilities

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Evidence Response Team members plot wreckage of the bridge that collapsed August 1, 2007 in Minneapolis.

Our people in Minneapolis 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 employees are not only special agents, but 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 Minneapolis, we have two Evidence Response Teams (ERTs) totaling 16 members divided between Minneapolis, North Dakota, and South Dakota. ERTs are made up of special agents and other specialists who are sent to crime scenes to secure the area and exhaustively gather and process physical evidence. Each team member has a forensic specialty and has been extensively trained. They can take photographs, diagram and survey scenes, gather fingerprints, analyze blood stains and splatters, 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.

    The teams routinely respond to federal crime scenes in the three-state area. They have also been called upon to respond to terrorist acts across the country, including the September 11 and anthrax attacks. Much of work performed by the ERTs is done on the various Indian Reservations in Minnesota and the Dakotas, where the teams have been called upon to provide forensic assistance in homicides and other violent crimes. The Minneapolis ERT has also assisted with investigations of train and plane crashes, including the plane crashes that took the lives of golfer Payne Stewart in South Dakota and Senator Paul Wellstone in Minnesota. When requested, the ERT assists local law enforcement—providing expertise, manpower, and specialized equipment not always available to local departments. The Minneapolis ERT also trains with state and local law enforcement departments on wide-ranging topics, including crime scene management, crime scene forensic techniques, and interagency cooperation in the event of a large-scale terrorist event.
  • 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.
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    A SWAT training exercise.
    Bomb recovery and analysis: We have two special agent bomb technicians in Minneapolis who can test and render safe a variety of explosive devices. They respond to calls of suspicious packages or objects and are deployed during bombing investigations, often working closely with our Joint Terrorism Task Forces. 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: The area of responsibility for FBI Minneapolis’ Hazardous Evidence Response Team (HERT) comprises Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. HERT is made up of FBI special agents who respond to crime scenes involving chemical, biological, radiological, and/or nuclear hazardous materials. Each team member is extensively trained to operate in hazardous environments in order to gather and process physical evidence related to terrorist attacks and federal criminal incidents. The team coordinates with local law enforcement, military officials, weapons of mass destruction experts, and scientists.
  • 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.

  • The FBI’s Office for Victim Assistance was created to assist those who have suffered or been threatened with direct physical, emotional, and/or other kinds of harm as a result of the commission of a federal crime investigated by the Bureau. We provide victims with their first—and sometimes only—contact with the federal criminal justice system. The Minneapolis Division has 12 victim specialists who work with victims in such instances. There are victim specialists assigned to the Minneapolis Field Office and the Bemidji Resident Agency in Minnesota; to resident agencies in Bismarck, Fargo, Grand Forks, and Minot in North Dakota; and to resident agencies in Aberdeen, Sioux Falls, Rapid City, and Pierre in South Dakota. The nine resident agency victim specialists are primarily concerned with crimes in Indian Country. Special agents also act as liaisons in coordinating the program’s activities and services with outside agencies and organizations.