The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division has gained an elite certified criminal investigative profiler now that Senior Special Agent Bo Barton has finished a four-year training program.

Barton is a graduate of Charleston Southern University, where he earned a master's degree in criminal justice. The Lexington County native is one of 106 certified criminal profilers worldwide, according to SLED. The agency is one of five in the United States to have a certified profiler on staff.

"This is a huge honor for me," Barton said in a release. "These are the pioneers of the field that are recognizing me as one of them."

Barton participated in a training program facilitated by the International Criminal Investigative Analysis Fellowship, the only organization in the world to train and certify criminal and geographic profilers, according to SLED. The training enables officers to assess testimony related to investigations and court testimony.

"Agent Barton has consistently proven himself as a leader in his field," SLED Director Reggie Lloyd said. "This latest accomplishment is one more part of his already impressive resume."

To be certified, Barton took part in the ICIAF's academic curriculum and apprenticeship, including field studies with the Ontario Provincial Police in Canada, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in Miami, and the FBI in Quantico, Va. He was assigned criminal cases to investigate with these agencies to determine if his knowledge and opinions meet the standards and practices of the ICIAF.

A month-long written exam compared his results with the facts of a solved case. It was followed by an oral exam during which he had to defend his analysis.

"This board certification is the capstone of my career, bringing in all of the elements that I've learned in my law enforcement career," Barton said.