North Carolina Department of Justice
North Carolina Department of Justice
North Carolina Department of Justice
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December 1, 1999

The Honorable John Glenn, Chairman The North Carolina Criminal Justice

Education and Training Standards Commission Post Office Drawer 149 Raleigh, North Carolina 27602

Dear Chairman Glenn:

Doc Hoggard contacted me last week concerning Bryan Beatty, the Director of the State Bureau of Investigation, and whether Mr. Beatty was legally eligible upon being sworn as the Director to take the oath of office reserved to a North Carolina Criminal Justice Officer. The question was appropriately raised by you as Chairman of the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission, since Mr. Beatty has not met the Chapter 17C requirements. Unless Mr. Beatty was otherwise authorized by law to take the law enforcement officers’ oath, it should not have been administered. Fortunately, there is another provision of law that specifically allows the Director of the State Bureau of Investigation to take the law enforcement oath since the Director, by law, is considered a law enforcement officer.

This same question was orally raised and discussed when then Attorney General Lacy Thornburg considered appointing Robert Morgan as the Director of the SBI. At that time, after researching the question, I advised General Thornburg that Chapter 17C did not apply to the Director of the SBI. My reasoning was based on Article 4 of Chapter 114 of the General Statutes, particularly, N.C.G.S. §§ 114-12 and 114-14.

N.C.G.S. § 114-12, which was enacted in 1937, provides:

“In order to secure a more effective administration of the criminal laws of the State, to prevent crime, and to procure the speedy apprehension of criminals, the Attorney General shall set up in the Department of Justice a division to be designated as the State Bureau of Investigation. The Division shall have charge of and administer the agencies and activities herein set up for the identification of criminals, for their apprehension, for the scientific analysis of evidence of crime, and investigation and preparation of evidence to be used in criminal courts; and The Honorable John Glenn Page 2 December 1, 1999

the said Bureau shall have charge of investigation of criminal matters herein

especially mentioned, and of such other crimes and criminal procedure as the

Governor may direct.”

N.C.G.S. § 114-14, which also was enacted in 1937, provides in pertinent part, as follows: “The Director of the Bureau . . . (is) given the same power of arrest as is now vested in the sheriffs of the several counties, and (his) jurisdiction shall be Statewide.”

Because the Legislature gave the SBI very specific law enforcement duties - i.e., identification and apprehension of criminals; and because the Legislature gave the Director, statewide, “the same power of arrest as is now vested in the sheriffs of the several counties,” I advised Attorney General Thornburg that the Director had been designated a law enforcement officer by act of the Legislature, had the power of arrest statewide, and therefore was not subject to the provisions of Chapter 17C of the North Carolina General Statutes. The Attorney General concurred, and that has been the position of this office, at least since 1985, and has carried forward with the Directors who followed Mr. Morgan. That continues to be the position of this office. As you are aware, a sheriff is considered a law enforcement officer with the power of arrest, who does not have to meet the requirements of Chapter 17C.

I will be happy to discuss this with you further should you desire. My direct dial office number is (919)716-6405; my home number is (252)586-2590. Since I am retired from State Government and am working only part-time, you can usually contact me at the office on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. Otherwise, I suggest that you call me at home.

Very truly yours,

Andrew A. Vanore, Jr. General Counsel

AAVJr/spw

cc: Doc Hoggard