Turf war may be looming over SBI

Posted February 15, 2013

— State lawmakers are considering pulling the State Bureau of Investigation from the North Carolina Department of Justice and moving it to the Department of Public Safety.

The SBI has been part of the Justice Department for 75 years, and

Such a move would boost the power of DPS Secretary Kieran Shanahan, a Republican appointee of Gov. Pat McCrory, at the expense of Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper, whose office now oversees the SBI.

"It is a bad public policy idea," Cooper said Friday. "It is critically important that the SBI remain independent and autonomous under an independently elected attorney general."

He pointed to recent SBI investigations into the campaign finances of former Govs. Mike Easley and Beverly Perdue.

Republican legislative leaders haven't publicly discussed a potential SBI shift, but Rep. Leo Daughtry, R-Johnston, confirms that the idea is being discussed within the halls of the Legislative Building.

Daughtry said he said he's not yet convinced it's a good idea, echoing Cooper's call for SBI independence.

"If there are reasons and good reasons to do it, to move it, I want to hear it," he said.

The North Carolina Sheriff's Association also opposes moving the SBI.

Attorney General Roy Cooper Cooper: SBI move is 'bad public policy idea'

Advocates say folding the SBI into DPS, which already includes the State Highway Patrol and the Division of Alcohol Law Enforcement, would promote efficiency.

The idea also surfaced in a draft Senate budget two years ago, when various departments were consolidated to streamline state government operations.

Shanahan said in a statement that he wants to focus on those consolidations in his department before he considers anything else.

"I think saving money is always important to taxpayers and that would be one consideration, but I don't want it to be the only consideration," Daughtry said.

Critics question the politics behind the idea.

"I don't want to assume anyone's motives at this point," Cooper said. "We don't need to be fighting about this. We need to be fighting criminals."

"I think our deliberations should be based on policy and not politics," Daughtry said.


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  • Sherlock Feb 19, 2013

    Why not make the SBI, like any other law enforcement agency. They put on the uniforms and hit the streets, when they are needed call them.

  • matt_wood Feb 18, 2013

    "does it really matter where it's put? as long as the Republicans just don't cut it totally out of the budget."

    It does matter because it is currently led by an elected official whereas moving it would put it under an appointed official. Read: the governor will then be allowed to get away with anything they want.

  • wildpig777 Feb 18, 2013

    it is the right of the gov nor to re assign the sacred cow sbi as he sees fit................
    of course roy cooper is against it -- roy is a democrat.

  • weasel2 Feb 18, 2013

    I think the SBI needs to be under the AGs office to keep the perception/reality of fair and unbiased investigations alive.

  • dare107 Feb 16, 2013

    The SBI has become an agency without a mission or a cause! They do every thing they can to try and justify themselves and their jobs. They are average at best investigators have botched major cases across the state time and time again. The Pitt County case with Dwight Ranson for example, there is a case in Beaufort Count right that Agent Smith charged numberous people in a prescription drug investigation in the Federal system and after all the press is all over all of the charges are going to be dropped.
    The lab is more than a year behind in blood analysis. Most agencies no longer need the use of the SBI in the field anylonger. I say just do away with the field agents all together.

  • vincenzo9198 Feb 16, 2013

    To make this a moot point, I would move the State to the Federal model-nomination by the Governor and confirmation by the Senate. To facilitate this, I would amend the State Constitution to merge the Council of State and Cabinet, while clarifying NO executive can override the NEW Council of State, but the State General Assembly CAN. I know, "This eviscerates a Check and Balance," to which I respond: No, if the Governor and Senate majority are of different parties, only a MODERATE can survive the process.

  • ratherbnwpb Feb 16, 2013

    The "state" gave away the Dix property and now they will have to pay rent on the buildings they use...
    I cant help but remember a recent case regarding Mr. Coopers office. Perhaps you remember it also. A former black legislator crossed the center line" superman

    Yet, another clueless comment. That property was not given away. It wasnt being used anyway and the state is leasing it for a quite a few years. As far as the legislator, he was not drunk as it turned out. It was a medical condition and the other guy crossed the center line. Please get your facts straight!

  • ratherbnwpb Feb 16, 2013

    Cooper, had you done your job on all the state corruption we've been reading about, you MIGHT be able to call your department independent, but I'm not inclined to buy that argument.


    All of those cases were prosecuted and convictions received, so whats your point? Your comment is moot!

  • turbopir8 Feb 15, 2013

    It would be a wise idea to consolidate the three agencies: SBI, SHP, and ALE and form one State Police Agency that performs these three agency missions. Virginia and other states have managed to operate efficiently with this concept. It would also be appropriate to require all candidates to have a four-year degree and at least 3 three years of law enforcement experience, or a Masters Degree and one-year experience, in order to be hired. Its time to get away from political hires with no or very little experience, and hire experience quality personnel to perform this law enforcement role.

  • caryzoo Feb 15, 2013

    Well, our elected state officials have screwed the citizenry for the last 2 weeks. And it continues....clueless, ignorant, out of touch...it goes on and on....North Carolina has become a backwards and ill informed state. It WAS moving up...no more...so sad.