Home Philadelphia About Us Our People and Capabilities

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

Our employees not only include 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: The Philadelphia Evidence Response Team consists of four six-member teams, all on a weekly rotation, which conduct forensic investigations and process crime scenes as needed. In the case of large or multiple crime scenes, the stand-by team will be augmented by the remaining teams as required. The Philadelphia Evidence Response Team includes personnel with specialized forensics training in evidence collection and in processing complex crime scenes, as well as in executing search warrants. The teams are extensively trained in photography; diagramming and sketching; recovery and processing of latent fingerprints; analysis of blood patterns and spatter; determination of bullet trajectories; recovery of DNA, hair, fiber, and scent trace evidence; and post-blast investigations. The team has five response vehicles and two trailers, all equipped with the necessary tools, supplies, and equipment to handle any size crime scene within or outside our division territory. This equipment includes a mobile command post that can handle multiple or extended team operations. The team also maintains an offsite facility where evidence of all types may be secured and processed and where the team’s bulkier equipment is stored, ready for use. The team responds to all investigative programs and provides training and crime scene support to local law enforcement agencies throughout the division; it also coordinates with the FBI Laboratory as necessary.
  • phrcfl.jpgComputer forensics: The Philadelphia Division is home to one of the national Regional Computer Forensics Laboratories (RCFLs) located throughout the United States. These RCFLs are one-stop, full-service forensics laboratories and training centers devoted to the examination of digital evidence in support of law enforcement investigations. The Philadelphia RCFL is staffed by federal, state, and local law enforcement officers, who all must pass a rigorous training program to become certified as forensic examiners by the FBI’s Computer Analysis and Response Team. 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. The Philadelphia RCFL’s secondary mission is to provide law enforcement personnel in the Philadelphia area with high-quality technical and digital forensics training in our 24-seat, state-of-the-art, digital training classroom. The Philadelphia RCFL offers a variety of different courses geared to the specific needs of our partners in law enforcement. For more information on the Philadelphia RCFL, please visit our website at www.phrcfl.org.
  • swat3.jpg
    A SWAT training exercise.
    Tactical support and crisis response: We have a SWAT (Specialized Weapons and Tactics) team that consists of 23 operators, including assaulters, breachers, and sniper/observers. The field office career board selects SWAT team members from agents who volunteer and have at least two years of experience. The agents must be emotionally stable and participate in the SWAT team members’ selection process, which includes a pistol qualification course, physical standards test, combat movement course, arrest scenario, problem-solving exercise, interview, and other standard events. Once selected, each member must complete the SWAT basic course and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) basic course. Additional training is available for sniper/observer, mechanical/shotgun breaching, chemical agents, tactical helicopter/rappel master, tactical tracking, and emergency medical technician. The SWAT team is used for planning and executing a raid, arrest, or other situation posing a higher-than-normal danger factor in order to reduce the risk to innocent persons, agents, and suspects. The team conducts weapons and tactical training every month, including firearms proficiency with semiautomatic handguns, assault and sniper rifles and shotguns, close quarter combat training, felony car stop training, and dignitary protection training. In addition, we have a Tactical Operations Center consisting of agents with tactical experience to support the SWAT team. These tactical operators train and deploy with the SWAT team during field training exercises and tactical situations.
  • dogs.jpgBomb recovery and analysis: We have four special agent bomb technicians in Philadelphia who can analyze and render safe a variety of explosive devices. In addition, Philadelphia also employs two canines—Bismarck and Kaiser—trained in cadaver and bomb detection. The bomb techs and their canine partners respond to calls about suspicious packages or objects and are deployed during bombing investigations, often working closely with our Joint Terrorism Task Forces. They gather diagnostic information from explosives that may be relayed as vital intelligence to local investigators and to the national Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center. Our bomb techs work and train with local first responders and law enforcement.
  • Hazardous materials: Philadelphia employs a 24-member HAZMAT team that includes special agents from all investigative programs and task force officers from the Joint Terrorism Task Force. All members of the team are highly trained and certified to respond to terrorist attacks and criminal incidents involving hazardous materials—including chemical, biological, and radiological material. Our HAZMAT experts also work in concert with local officials and with Weapons of Mass Destruction experts at FBI Headquarters.
  • Translation: The Philadelphia Language Unit has more than 30 language specialists and contract linguists. Our on-board language capabilities include Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, French, Italian, Korean, Pashto, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and Ukrainian. Our linguists are proficient in translating both written documents and audio files. Both FBI language specialists and contract linguists assist special agents on searches, translating documents and interviews and, on occasion, taking part in undercover operations.

The Philadelphia Division is actively looking for Albanian, Urdu, and Farsi speakers. Please visit the FBI Jobs website for more information about job opportunities.