The Operational Projects Unit (OPU) manages the FBI Laboratory’s photographic operations program and the field photography program.
Under the direction of the OPU chief, our team consists of a supervisory photographer/program manager and a small team of scientific and technical photographers. These professionals provide on-call crime scene and investigative response, site surveys, aerial missions, and equipment procurement and repair.
The photographic operations program provides investigative and forensic photography as well as photographic and site survey imaging in support of federal, state, local, and international law enforcement investigations.
Our highly trained scientific and technical photographers use both digital video and digital still photographic equipment to provide:
- Direct vertical and oblique aerial photography
- Aerial mapping
- Operational site surveys, including special events
- Venue photography
- High-resolution digital still photography
- 360-degree spherical imaging
Our photographers capture detailed and accurate images for crime scene documentation, bullet trajectory analysis, accident reconstruction, and evidence purposes. When responding to crime scenes, we work alongside and coordinate with the FBI Evidence Response Teams (ERTs).
Imagery collected for operational site survey missions can assist responders and decision-makers by providing detailed visual information that gives them the tools to prepare for and interact with during an emergency. These tools deliver a virtual “walk-through” of the venue or incident scene, which increases the speed, safety, and effectiveness of response personnel.
Our aerial photographers can create large-scale, mission-specific images in digital and hard copy formats, with or without gridlines for reference.
Field Photography Program
OPU also manages the Bureau’s field photography program, which consists of more than 110 full-time and backup field photographers assigned to FBI offices across the country. These technical photographic and imaging specialists support their respective field office operations in many ways, including on:
- Crime scene response teams
- Event and crime scene surveys
- Evidence photography assignments
- 360-degree spherical photography operations
- Aerial photography missions
- Regional large-scale event response
These photographers also work collaboratively with other FBI field photography teams on operations, training efforts, and additional mission needs.
Operational Projects Unit