North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation
The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) is a state-level law enforcement agency in North Carolina. Within the state, the agency acts as a criminal investigation bureau, similar to the Federal Bureau of Investigation on the federal level.
Until August 2014, the SBI was a division of the North Carolina Department of Justice, which is headed by the North Carolina Attorney General. In August 2014, the North Carolina legislature removed the SBI from the Department of Justice. For administrative purposes (i.e. human resources, payroll, etc.), the SBI became part of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. However, for operational and investigative purposes, the SBI serves as an independent agency that reports directly to the governor. Under the 2014 legislation, the Director of the SBI is appointed to an eight-year term, subject to legislative confirmation. As part of the same legislation, the North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) became a division of the SBI.
The SBI was founded in 1937 and is led by a director and four assistant directors, one each for Administrative Services, Field Operations, Professional Standards, and Special Operations. In 2012, the SBI received its fifth reaccreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.
The SBI has statewide jurisdiction and assists in investigation of criminal cases at the request of the local department (municipal police department or sheriff's office), district attorney, or judges, usually for serious cases such as homicide, robbery, and property crimes. The local department maintains original jurisdiction over these cases. The SBI has original jurisdiction in cases involving drug investigations, lynching, arson investigations, election law violations, child sexual abuse in day care centers, theft and misuse of state property, and computer crime investigations that involve crimes against children. The SBI also charged with investigating organized crime and vice activities.
Organization and districts
SBI headquarters is located in Wake County. The bureau has several divisions:
- Special Operations Division: Operates seven specialized investigative and operational units: Air Wing Unit, Computer Crimes Unit, Criminal Information and Identification Section, Diversion and Environmental Crimes Unit, Intelligence and Technical Services Section, and Special Services Unit.
- Field Operations Division: Conducts most of the SBI's criminal investigations. More than 200 field agents and clerical personnel are employees in the Field Operations Division, including specialized investigators working in financial crimes, computer crimes, and Medicaid fraud. There are eight district offices across the state. Field operations also include SBI Field Procedure and statewide coordinators for arson, polygraph, and crime scene search.
- Professional Standards Division: Conducts sensitive investigations involving public corruption and government misconduct, investigations for the North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission, and cases involving theft and misuse of state property, and SBI internal affairs activities. The Division has two units within it: Financial Crime Investigations and Case Records Management.
- Administrative Services Division: Oversees recruitment and training of SBI agents and analysts and conducts work on human resources, budget, purchasing, communications, physical security, accreditation.
- Crime Laboratory Division: Oversees crime laboratory activities. The main SBI Crime Lab is in Raleigh. The Western Regional Lab is in Asheville and the Triad Regional Lab is in Greensboro.
The eight districts within the Field Operations Division are:
- Capital District is based in Raleigh and serves Chatham, Durham, Franklin, Granville, Harnett, Johnston, Orange, Person, Warren, Vance, and Wake counties.
- Coastal District is based in Jacksonville and serves Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Duplin, Jones, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, and Pender counties.
- Northeastern District is based in Greenville and serves Beaufort, Bertie, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Edgecombe, Gates, Greene, Halifax, Hertford, Hyde, Lenoir, Martin, Nash, Northampton, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Pitt, Tyrrell, Wayne, Wilson, and Washington counties.
- Northern Piedmont District is based in Greensboro and serves Alamance, Caswell, Davidson, Forsyth, Guilford, Montgomery, Randolph, Rockingham, and Stokes counties.
- Northwestern District is based in Hickory and serves Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Davie, Iredell, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yadkin counties.
- Southeastern District is based in Fayetteville and serves Bladen, Cumberland, Hoke, Lee, Moore, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, and Scotland counties.
- Southern Piedmont District is based in Harrisburg and serves Anson, Cabarrus, Cleveland, Gaston, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Stanly, and Union counties.
- Western District is based in Asheville and serves Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, and Yancey counties.