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If you’ve seen shows, such as Mindhunter or Criminal Minds, that showcase the work of the FBI’s behavioral analysis unit (BAU), then you may have found some interest in the unit itself. Right here, right now, I’ll provide an in-depth investigation of the BAU’s missions and values, as well as community involvement and occupational positions.

1. What is the organization’s mission/vision?

The mission of the behavioral analysis unit (BAU) is for behavioral analysts to apply case experience, training, and research with behavioral-based investigative techniques to help aid investigations involving acts or threats of violence. The BAU is a specialized department of the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC) which is a department of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) whose mission is to uphold the Constitution of the United States and protect the American people. The mission of the NCAVC is to use investigative and operational support techniques to provide assistance at the federal, state, local, and foreign law levels that deal with unusual or repetitive violent crimes such as serial killing. All three missions stated above should be valued as an employee at the BAU. 

2. What can you learn about the organization’s culture from their website?

From an FBI podcast listed on the official FBI website, there are talks of expanding the BAU into four subsections with each one having a specific focus. Additionally, most of BAU’s jobs are based on violent offenses. There is work being done to spread out into non-violent investigations such as white-collar crime and public corruption. Simply, they are going to be taking the “why” part of criminal investigation and apply it to non-violent offenses.

3. What does the organization value?

The BAU values psychological thinking and application. They value workers who want to study and understand criminal investigative techniques in order to make the world a safer place. Furthermore, they do not value workers who are looking for fieldwork and who have unrealistic ideas of the FBI such as seen in crime shows like CSI. Simply put, BAU strictly values research and analysis, not on-the-field exaggerated heroism. 

4. What seemed to be missing on the site?

I was hoping to see more about the cases that the BAU has worked on or aided, but I understand if it is classified information. I would have also liked to see what kind of psychological techniques they focus on. For example, if going with behaviorism ideologies, do they use Watson’s methodological behaviorism or Skinner’s radical behaviorism, or pieces from both? Knowing the type of psychology to focus on would help people better prepare for a position as a BAU agent. 

5. What types of jobs and benefits do they offer?

There are five different types of BAU agent; BAU(1) works in counterterrorism, bomb threats, and arson, BAU(2) works in cybercrime, threats, and public corruption, BAU(3) works in crimes against children, BAU(4) works in crimes against adults and violent offenses, and BAU(5) works in research strategy and instruction. Working in the BAU unit has all the benefits of an FBI agent. Insurance on mostly anything, transit repayment, student loan forgiveness, paid time-off, etc. 

6. How, if at all, are they involved in the community?

The BAU unit is directly involved with the community at all levels; federal, state, and local. The research BAU conducts is put into a database for law enforcement to access and utilize in their own cases. Additionally, if law enforcement needs help on a specific criminal investigation, the BAU is called upon to investigate and analyze the crime to better inform the officers involved of the criminal profile they should be looking for. They also help in forensic analysis of evidence that may be incredibly difficult to analyze at lower levels. 

I hope this look into the BAU was informational and interesting for you. There are not many useful resources to take a deep dive into the BAU, as is justified due to the confidential nature of their work. If looking for more information, I highly suggest researching the crimes the BAU has aided such as the Jeffrey Dahmer case, the Edmund Kemper case, the Wayne Williams case, and many more.

Here are some resources to get started:

Top Ten Cases That Shaped The BAU

Ten Surprising Facts About The BAU

What do you think?

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