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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.

The heart of our organization lies in our investigative capabilities. 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 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, international, and multi-jurisdictional, requiring experienced, highly trained, and well-rounded professionals.

Not Just Agents

Our employees include not only special agents, but also a variety of support staff such as intelligence analysts, financial analysts, investigative specialists, translators, paralegals, electronics technicians, and security experts.

Specialized Expertise

The FBI possesses a wide variety of specialized resources that support our mission and enable us to assist our local, state, and federal partners. In the San Francisco Division, some of these specialized resources include:

  • Evidence recovery and processing: In San Francisco, we have four evidence response teams made up of a total of 32 crime scene specialists who are sent to crime scenes to gather and process evidence. Each team member has a forensic specialty and has received extensive training. These individuals can take photographs, diagram and survey crime scenes, gather fingerprints, analyze blood stains, determine bullet trajectories, recover DNA, and gather the smallest of clues. Our teams coordinate with the FBI Laboratory and assist local law enforcement upon request.
  • Computer forensics: The San Francisco Division is home to one of the premier cyber forensics labs in the country. The Silicon Valley Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory is certified by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors and serves the computer forensic needs of local, state, and federal law enforcement throughout the Bay Area.
  • Tactical support and crisis response: Our 46-member SWAT team can storm barricaded buildings and vehicles, breach locks, 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 well equipped, with expertise in a variety of weapons.
  • Bomb recovery and analysis: We have two special agent bomb technicians (and one bomb dog) 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: We have a HAZMAT team able to respond to terrorist attacks and criminal incidents involving chemical, biological, or radiological materials. Team members work in concert with local officials and 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. They work directly with case agents by translating live interviews and are often involved in undercover operations.

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