CHICAGO - Emmerson Buie Jr. took over as Chicago's FBI Special Agent in Charge four months ago and is the first African American in that role. He was born on the West Side and gred up in Englewood. He said he's gotten a warm welcome home.
"I have a family and it's my family's community," Buie said. "I have a vested interest in protecting it to protect my family. I want to build a relationship. I want to protect my community. By the same token, fn the event that something unfortunate happens, I want to heal my community as well."
Buie is also an Army veteran who served in Desert Storm. He is in charge of a staff of about a thousand people. He said it's important to be proactive, not reactive, when you are representing the justice system in the community.
"By being out in the community, and working with the public - that is our best asset and biggest weapon: the relationship we are able to foge outside the FBI's office," Buie said.
Buie was part of the response in El Paso, Texas, after the mass shooting at a Walmart store that left 22 people dead.
"It's unfortunate that in today's society, sometimes it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when," he said of mass shooting incidents. He said that FBI agents like Chicago's Patrice Heelan are constantly training for these sort of mass casualty attacks, and can provide services like death ceritification and assistance to next of kin.
"It's crucial to ID and apprehend the offenders, but it's as critical to ID victims and assess their needs, and provide the appropriate resources to address those needs," said Patrice Heelan, an FBI victim specialist.