The largest division within the Federal Bureau of Investigations remains the Criminal Investigations Division (CID). Since its inception in 1908, the FBI has devoted the majority of its efforts to investigating and preventing major crimes, but with the attacks on September 11, 2001, the FBI realigned its operations to focus upon national security issues. Although the CID is still the largest FBI division, supporting almost 4,800 Special Agent-Criminal Investigation Division jobs, it has lost a significant number of personnel to other national security related divisions. The focus of the CID has also shifted to prioritize crimes that relate to national security.
The Increasingly Global Reach of the FBI’s Criminal Investigation Division
Among its highest priorities are cases related to criminal organizations that originate abroad or within insular immigrant communities that reveal little to the general public. These groups, which include the Mafia-like organizations in Eastern European and Asian communities, present a significant risk to national security as well as public safety. Many of these organizations pay little heed to the welfare of others and are willing to conduct operations that could compromise the security of the country, including theft and sale of WMDs or the illegal smuggling of terrorists into the U.S. Many of these cases require not only the FBI’s law enforcement resources, but also the application of its intelligence resources to collect information about the network’s operations.
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Criminal Investigation Division jobs also involve identifying, penetrating and dismantling transnational gangs. Like the organized criminal organizations, they often perpetrate crimes related to narcotics, human smuggling and child exploitation. In many immigrant communities, they often usurp the place of rightful authorities and force residents to cooperate with their illegal directives. The CID works closely with immigration officials and agencies to curtail smuggling operations that present significant risks to national security.
Financial Crimes, Violent Crimes, Civil Rights Abuses, and Public Corruption
Financial crimes undermine the public welfare and provide support systems for terrorist organizations. The CID has extensive history with and resources capable of unwinding the complex financial schemes that many white collar criminals utilize to embezzle from their enterprises, launder illegal funds, or swindle unsuspecting consumers. The CID also utilizes this expertise to analyze the financial operations of suspect banks, charities and black market financial organizations which may be providing funds to terrorist organizations.
Violent crimes that create panic among the general public are also a priority of the CID. Cases involving serial homicides or rapes as well as crimes against children often involve perpetrators who possess an aberrant psychology that compels them to continue and escalate the violence of their crimes. In order to identify and apprehend these violent criminals, the CID utilizes a wide array of specialized resources like investigative specialists and profilers. The CID is also dedicated to resolution of cases involving kidnappings, hijackings and unidentified bodies.
Civil rights and cases of public corruption are also serious matters for the CID. In order to maintain the integrity of public institutions, the FBI is often required to investigate cases where a government official or law enforcement officer has committed a crime. The CID is also the primary agency for investigating crimes that violate civil rights including hate crimes and voter rights violations.
Violent Criminal Apprehension Program
The Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP) offers law enforcement agencies with a number of tools for identifying, pursuing and apprehending violent criminals. ViCAP is primarily devoted to cases involving serial homicide and rape, but it is also utilized in cases of missing persons, kidnappings, unsolved murders, and unidentified persons. Drawing upon the nation’s largest database of violent crimes, the ViCAP-Web, the CID is able to help investigators develop a profile of the perpetrator. These profiles utilize crime scene evidence to create a behavioral analysis that can predict the criminal’s likely methods, motivations and next crime.
The CID is dependent upon its investigative personnel who perform a variety of functions related to crime scene analysis, profiling, and information retrieval. Investigative specialists are often tasked with collecting forensic evidence from a crime, delivering it to crime labs and using the results to develop a criminal profile. When a suspect has been identified, investigative specialists may conduct the appropriate background checks, question associates and neighbors, and develop surveillance operations to monitor activities. Specialists are also critical components of counterterrorism operations. They monitor potential terrorists and utilize investigative techniques like electronic eavesdropping and satellite surveillance to gather intelligence about a subject. Investigative specialists may also question suspects in an attempt to elicit information about organizations or plans. Specialists provide collected information to intelligence analysts within CID and FBI Counterterrorism divisions.
Evidence Response Teams
Evidence Response Teams are critical components of any criminal or national security investigation. They collect evidence using traditional techniques like fingerprint collection, bodily fluid samples, and UV detection, as well as proprietary techniques developed by the FBI. These units are made up of a wide array of investigative, forensic and canine operations personnel, as well as undersea specialists.