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Minnesota Agencies

Information on Minnesota State Agencies, Boards, Task Forces, and Commissions

Compiled by the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library

Criminal Apprehension Bureau

Also known as:
Bureau of Criminal Apprehension
Active dates:1927 -

Coordinates law enforcement activities in Minnesota, with primary responsibilities for apprehension of criminals, uniform crime reporting, criminal identification records, emergency police broadcasts, scientific laboratory facilities, police training, short wave mobile communications control, statistical analysis of crimes, and recommendations to the governor and legislature concerning crime control. (Source: Directory and guide to agencies of Minnesota state government, 1965).


The Minnesota Legislature created the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) in 1927 as a division of the Office of the Attorney General. The BCA was established to assist Minnesota peace officers in solving local crimes and apprehending criminals. The Division of Statistics, a forerunner of the Criminal Justice Information Systems (CJIS) section, was added in 1935, as were additional personnel and full police power for the Bureau's agents. The addition of personnel made the establishment of field offices throughout Minnesota possible. On January 1, 1947, the BCA Forensic Science Laboratory became operational, making chemical analysis and microscopic study of evidence possible. The laboratory was located in the Shubert Building at 488 North Wabasha Street in Saint Paul. The entire laboratory occupied 350 square feet. It began as a one-person laboratory offering chemical analysis and microscopy.

The needs of the laboratory continued to grow, and in 1962 the BCA moved its lab to 1246 University Avenue in Saint Paul. In 1969, the BCA, along with several other state agencies, became a member of the newly created Department of Public Safety.

Renovations took place at the University Avenue location from 1978-1980. In 1990, the BCA became one of the nation's first forensic laboratories to offer DNA analysis. Shortly thereafter, the BCA was the first laboratory in the nation to identify a suspect based solely on DNA.

To meet increasing demand for forensic science services, the Bemidji Regional Office and Forensic Science Laboratory was opened in 2001. The new facility at 3700 North Norris Court NW contained a 26,000 square foot regional laboratory.

The CriMNet Program Office was added to the Bureau in 2002, providing a framework for integrating criminal justice information systems to ensure the protection of citizens and communities in Minnesota and throughout the United States.

In 2003, the Saint Paul headquarters moved to its present location on Maryland Avenue. It is a state of the art facility housing the BCA's Forensic Science, Investigative, CriMNet Program, and CJIS. The building is 224,000 square feet with almost 106,000 square feet occupied by the laboratory.

In 2004, the Bureau became one of four laboratories in the nation selected by the FBI to serve as a regional mitochondrial DNA laboratory. Today, the Saint Paul and Bemidji labs' combined staff of nearly 100 continues to be leaders in developing and employing the latest in forensic technology.

Today, the Minnesota BCA employs over 300 people, has 10 field offices around the state, and its forensic lab has an international reputation as one of the finest in the country. The BCA's Crime Scene Team of criminal investigators and laboratory specialists continues to respond to requests from Minnesota law enforcement agencies for assistance in investigating suspicious deaths. The BCA was first in the nation to implement an Automated Fingerprint Identification System, allowing the submission of fingerprints via computer. The BCA serves as a national model with its Missing Children's Clearing House, the Minnesota Crime Alert and the Amber Alert Programs. The BCA's Predatory Offender Unit currently maintains records of more than 15,000 predatory offenders in Minnesota.
(History information taken from the Bureau's website 10/12/10).

Subordinate to:
Department of Public Safety
Agency heads:

Nick O'Hara, March 3, 1995; Michael Campion, May, 2000; Linda Finney, August, 2004; Tim O'Malley, December, 2006 (Superintendent) - October, 2010.

BCA Policy: Police Use of Deadly Force Investigations. Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, 4/17/2017.
News clippings and documents. Agencies Notebook Collection, 1937-2017.
Record last updated: 11/22/2022

All information on this group from the Library’s collection of agency notebooks has been digitized. These materials are incorporated into the “documents/articles” section of the record. Please contact a librarian with any questions. The Minnesota Agencies database is a work in progress.

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