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Assisting Criminal Justice Agencies
The Office of Attorney General provides support systems and services to assist criminal justice agencies. This office does not have jurisdiction or authority over local law enforcement agencies. By statute, the Bureau of Criminal Investigation is an assisting agency (N.D.C.C. Ch. 12-60).
When a criminal justice agency requests the BCI assist with an investigation, the requesting agency is the lead agency and as such, retains jurisdiction over the investigation and any media inquiries. The BCI does not comment on active/ongoing investigations. The prosecuting attorney, not the BCI, makes the decision regarding criminal charges. If charges are filed, an investigation is considered “active” until prosecution is complete or the charges dismissed.
Use of Force/Officer Involved Shootings
If a law enforcement agency requests, the BCI will review an officer’s use of force. The BCI conducts a thorough investigation of the use of force and reports its findings to the county state’s attorney (who makes the charging decision), and the requesting agency. The BCI does not comment on the status of a use of force investigation.
While the BCI also may be assisting the agency in the investigation of the underlying criminal offense or incident, the requesting agency is the lead agency and retains jurisdiction over the case and any media inquiries about the suspect, the incident that led to the use of force, the pending criminal investigation, or the status of the officers involved.
The county state’s attorneys have sole jurisdiction over prosecution of criminal offenses. This office does not have authority over the county state’s attorneys. However, upon request of a state’s attorney, an assistant attorney general may be assigned to provide prosecution assistance to the county. Generally, this office does not comment on these cases.