New FBI head of Chicago field office is first Black agent chosen for position

Emmerson Buie Jr. leads a staff of roughly 1,000 and makes being proactive a top priority

Emmerson Buie Jr
Emmerson Buie Jr (Credit: FBI)

Since becoming the first Black person to head up the Chicago’s FBI field office, Emmerson Buie Jr. says he has been warmly received in the Windy City.

Buie is originally from the West Side and grew up in Englewood, but in his previous role, he served as the special agent in charge of the FBI’s El Paso Field Office in Texas.

“I have a family and it’s my family’s community,” Buie told Fox 32 Chicago. “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, in the event that something unfortunate happens, I want to heal my community as well.”

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Buie leads a staff of roughly 1,000 people. The Army veteran who served in Desert Storm said it’s crucial to be proactive, instead of reactive, when building ties 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 forge outside the FBI’s office,” he told Fox 32 Chicago.

In his last position, Buie led the FBI response in El Paso, Texas, after the mass shooting at a Walmart store that claimed 22 lives.

“It’s unfortunate that in today’s society, sometimes it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when,” Buie said, discussing mass shootings.

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Buie said the FBI continues to train its agents, like Patrice Heelan, an FBI victim specialist in Chicago, to properly prepare for mass casualty incidents, so that the agency can provide important services like death certification and assistance to next of kin, Fox 32 Chicago reported.

“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,” Heelan explained.

Buie was named to the top job in Chicago last fall. As an Army veteran, he received a Bronze Star, Combat Infantry badge, many other accommodations and awards.