Originally named the Behavioral Science Unit, the modern-day Investigative Support Unit is one of the instructional components of the FBI's Training Division at Quantico, Virginia. Its mission is to develop and provide programs of training, research, and consultation in the behavioral and social sciences for the FBI and law enforcement community that will improve or enhance their administration, operational effectiveness, and understanding of violent crime. This work includes conducting high-impact research and presenting a variety of state-of-the-art courses on topics such as Applied Criminal Psychology, Clinical Forensic Psychology, Community Policing and Problem-Solving Strategies, Crime Analysis, Death Investigation, Gangs and Gang Behavior, Interpersonal Violence, Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted in the Line of Duty, Research Methodology, Stress Management in Law Enforcement, and Violence in America.
Training requests by duly authorized law enforcement agencies, may be submitted in writing and coordinated with the local FBI field division. Investigative Support Unit training commitments are based on FBI and divisional priorities and availability of resources.
The unit's personnel are primarily Supervisory Special Agents and experienced veteran police officers with advanced degrees in the behavioral science disciplines of psychology, criminology, and sociology. The Investigative Support Unit professional personnel also include a forensic psychologist, research analyst, and a management analyst.
The Investigative Support Unit conducts specialized and applied training in the above disciplines as they pertain to law enforcement for New Agents, FBI in-services and symposia, as well as for the FBI National Academy Program, international police officers, field police schools, and criminal justice - related organizations and conferences consistent with goals and objectives, and available resources.
In its research, the Investigative Support Unit focuses on developing new and innovative investigative approaches and techniques to the solution of violent crime by studying the violent offender, and his/her behavior and motivation. Some of this research is conducted in partnership with outside researchers and through interagency agreements with the Office of Justice Programs, Department of Justice.
The Investigative Support Unit also coordinates with and supports other FBI units, such as the Child Abduction and Serial Killer Unit of the Critical Incident Response Group, which provides operational assistance to FBI field offices and law enforcement agencies.
Original text by Elizabeth Gerber, revised
Books about Profilers
If you're interested in fictional representations of the ISU (which you apparently are), you might want to check out the TV show Profiler, the movies Silence of the Lambs and Kiss the Girls, Patricia Cornwell's novels, especially Body Farm, the novels Silence of the Lambs and its prequel Red Dragon, and the Body Farm novels written by Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson as Jefferson Bass. Also, the novels The Alienist and The Angel of Darkness depict the ficitonal historical roots of criminal profiling.