Home Stats & Services Reports and Publications LEB December 2012 Bulletin History

Bulletin History

FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin
A History

Since 1935, the FBI has provided information on current law enforcement issues and research in the field to the larger policing community through the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. Just as the FBI has adapted over the years to address the changing needs of the criminal justice community, the Bulletin continues changing to reach a more mobile and widespread audience. The current issue of the Bulletin will be the final hard-copy edition, ending nearly 80 years in that format.

The Bulletin will continue to deliver peer-reviewed articles submitted by a wide range of authorities, including subject matter experts, national security liaisons, officers and agents in the field, and legal instruction advisors. Beginning January 2013, these articles will be available exclusively online at http://www.fbi.gov. A brief history of the Bulletin explains its effort to help law enforcement professionals better understand and combat security threats facing the United States and protect and defend citizens.


Logo_1933_new.jpgIn October 1932, the Bureau of Investigation began publishing a monthly magazine of fugitive write-ups titled Fugitives Wanted by Police. In October 1935, after the Bureau of Investigation became the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the publication was renamed the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin and added brief articles noting advances in police science to its fugitive write-ups. As the 1930s continued to witness a renaissance of American policing marked by increased professionalism and growth of the forensic sciences, the Bulletin served as a primary resource for disseminating information throughout the law enforcement community.

Forties and Fifties

Logo_1941.jpgAfter the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States joined the Allied war effort against the Axis Powers. Like all segments of society, policing changed dramatically during the war years. Throughout the war era, the Bulletin provided law enforcement officials with information related to national defense, scientific aids, and police training. As the American economy expanded during the postwar years, unparalleled growth led to profound changes for the law enforcement community. In its pages the Bulletin addressed the major issues of the time, including rising levels of juvenile delinquency and policing’s role in maintaining national security.


Sixties and Seventies

Logo_1972.jpgIn the 1960s, the Bulletin chronicled a decade of intense social change. In addition to advances in the forensic sciences, articles focused on such topics as the growing drug culture and police response to civil disturbances. During the 1970s, the Bulletin featured articles that promoted the evolving emphasis on education in policing, as well as changes in tactics and hiring practices embraced by the nation’s law enforcement agencies.


Eighties and Nineties

Logo_1984.jpgDuring the 1980s, the Bulletin further established itself as a primary training resource for law enforcement administrators in agencies throughout the nation and the world. During the decade, the Bulletin featured articles on a broad array of scientific, technological, and strategic advances that would prove to have a dramatic affect on law enforcement. In the 1990s, the Bulletin embraced new technologies to reach a wider and more diverse readership. In 1991 it became one of the first law enforcement-related publications to go online and provide electronic versions of the magazine for viewing on the Internet.


Today and the Future

Today the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin remains one of the most widely read law enforcement-related publications in the world. Each month law enforcement administrators in more than 105 countries receive copies. Given the high “pass-around” rate of the printed copies, as well as its online presence, the Bulletin has an estimated readership of over 200,000 criminal justice professionals each month.


The Bulletin has become an extension of the work of the FBI Training Division. While the FBI hosts over 3,000 law enforcement specialists each year at the Training Academy at Quantico, many others within the criminal justice system have benefited from the information shared by subject matter experts from all aspects of the law enforcement community who have provided information and instruction in the pages of the Bulletin.

Its mission remains strong—to inform, educate, and broaden the criminal justice community’s understanding of current issues facing law enforcement. For 80 years the Bulletin has served this community and will continue to do so in the challenging days ahead through its website, http//www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/law-enforcement-bulletin.