Evidence Response Team

Portland Evidence Response Team Training Exercise

The Mission 

The mission of the Evidence Response Team Unit (ERTU) is to provide traditional and hazardous evidence collection capabilities to FBI field Evidence Response Teams (ERTs), Hazardous Evidence Response Teams (HERTs), Hazardous Evidence Response Components (HERCs), Underwater Search and Evidence Response Teams (USERTs), and law enforcement partners by offering forensic training, resources, and expertise in support of the FBI’s investigative priorities.

The Program

The ERT program supports teams in all 56 FBI field offices. These highly trained and equipped teams operate at an exceptional level of competence to ensure evidence is collected in such a manner that it can be introduced in courts throughout the U.S. and the world. ERTs strive to be the model for crime scene processing from the standpoint of safety, expertise, training, equipment, and capability.

The Team

The ERTU is composed of supervisory special agents, forensic canine consultants, forensic operations specialists, logistics management specialists, and management and program analysts.

The Work

Evidence Response Training 

The ERTU provides basic forensic evidence preservation and collection training to new agents and intelligence analysts, agents who wish to become ERT members, and FBI National Academy attendees. Advanced forensic evidence training is available to field ERT personnel.

Coordination and Response 

The ERTU provides crime scene equipment and supplies, on-scene support to field ERTs, and coordination for response to national and international special events and major crime scenes.

Underwater Evidence Program 

The ERTU oversees the USERT program. USERTs are composed of trained divers who are capable of using sophisticated equipment to conduct traditional underwater searches to locate and recover evidence and human remains. There are currently four Underwater Search and Evidence Response Teams, which are located in the FBI's Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Washington Field Offices.

Forensic Canine Program 

The Forensic Canine Consultation program was established to leverage scientifically based research methods and canine behavioral applications of forensic detector dogs to assist federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in the utilization of forensic canine assets in their investigations.

Hazardous Evidence Response Team Program 

The HERT program provides support to the U.S. government’s response to incidents and threats involving weapons of mass destruction. Additionally, HERTs support investigations of terrorism and the criminal use of chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) materials. The HERT program provides training, leadership, and subject-matter experts in hazardous evidence collection, crime scene management, and the processing of forensic evidence in CBRN crime scenes.