California Bureau of Investigation

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California Bureau of Investigation
Abbreviation "BI" or "CBI"
CA DOJ Bureau of Investigation Logo
CA DOJ Special Agent Badge
Agency overview
Formed February 17, 2012; 5 years ago (2012-02-17)
Preceding agencies
Annual budget $233 million
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* State of California, U.S.
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Sacramento, California
Special Agents 450
Attorney General of California responsible Xavier Becerra
Agency executive Larry J. Wallace, Director, Division of Law Enforcement
Parent agency California Department of Justice Division of Law Enforcement
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The California Bureau of Investigation ("BI" and often referred to by its former acronym "CBI") is a statewide criminal investigative bureau under the California Department of Justice, Division of Law Enforcement, administered by the Office of the State Attorney General that provides expert investigative services to assist local, state, tribal, and federal agencies in major criminal investigations ranging across the state.


The BI can trance its origins back to the original California Rangers, the first state-wide criminal investigative and law enforcement agency created on May 17, 1853. Although the California Rangers were quickly disbanded, in 1887 a new California State Police agency was formed with former rangers becoming its first officers. The California State Police merged with the California Highway Patrol in 1995, however their special investigative capabilities now reside with the BI.

Although often still called "CBI", the BI formerly held the actual official name of the "California Bureau of Investigation"[1] as an agency of the California Department of Justice. The official name was changed to the Bureau of Investigation and Intelligence (BII)[2] in 2009, and then later merged with parts of the Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement to create the Bureau of Investigation on February 17, 2012.[3] The BI commonly works on a variety of cases, including murder and narcotics trafficking.

Today the BI can be assigned at the discretion of the State Attorney General, performs investigations on public land for incidents that occur outside of local jurisdictions, or can be requested by local authority for various reasons (e.g. areas that are too small to have local detectives or cross-jurisdiction coordination of major crimes). The BI also manages several state-wide task forces and programs such as the anti-terrorism program and LA CLEAR, while also participating in federal task forces such as the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).

In fiction[edit]

A fictional version of the agency, still using the CBI name, was featured in the television series The Mentalist. It featured several units, with the one featuring the main characters focusing mostly on the investigation of homicides, and occasionally kidnappings or missing persons. The Region 1 DVD release of the fourth season of The Mentalist includes the special feature CBI: Behind the Badge, focusing on the interaction of real-life law enforcement officers in California, including some within the CBI, with those who tutored those who worked on the program in providing a realistic portrayal.[4] The fictional CBI was disbanded in the middle of the sixth season, after its director was revealed to belong to a secret criminal society made up of law enforcement officers.

The CBI was also referenced in one episode of the crime television series Numb3rs, where a CBI agent worked together with FBI.[5]


  1. ^ "California Bureau of Investigation". Archived from the original on 2009-02-22. Retrieved 2012-06-08. 
  2. ^ "Bureau of Investigation & Intelligence". Archived from the original on 2009-03-21. Retrieved 2012-06-08. 
  3. ^ accessed March 11, 2012
  4. ^ REVIEW: The Mentalist: The Complete Fourth Season (DVD)
  5. ^ "Nine Wives". Numb3rs. Season 3. Episode 12. CBS. 

External links[edit]