Putting the "I" in FBI

The Real Profilers

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

By John E. Douglas, former FBI profiler
The Anatomy Of Motive
Anyone You Want Me to Be: A True Story of Sex and Death on the Internet
Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit
Journey Into Darkness
Unabomber: On the Trail of Americas Most Wanted Serial Killer
by Roy Hazelwood, former FBI profiler
Dark Dreams
The Evil That Men Do
by Gregg O. McCrary, former FBI profiler
The Unknown Darkness
by Helen Morrison, M.D., former FBI profiler
My Life Among the Serial Killers
by Robert K. Ressler, former head of the Behavioral Science Unit
Whoever Fights Monsters
I Have Lived in the Monster: Inside the Minds of the World's Most Notorious Serial Killers
Sexual Homicide: Patterns and Motives with John Douglas & Ann Burgess
Justice is Served

Other Books
Crime Classification Manual by John E. Douglas, Ann Burgess, Allen Burgess, and Robert Ressler
Profiling Violent Crimes by Ronald Holmes and Stephen Holmes
Closely Watched Shadows: A Profile of the Hunted and the Hunter by Ronald Turco
Practical Guide to Forensic Psychology by Paul Deyoub and Gretchen Douthit
Art of Profiling: Reading People Right the First Time by Dan Korem
Beyond the Body Farm by Bill Bass
Death's Acre by Bill Bass
These books can be obtained from Amazon.com or your local library.

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.

ISU Links