This answer is written by AI. The information provided in this response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. Do not rely solely on the information provided in this response for any legal decisions. Consult with a qualified legal professional before making any decisions.

Are Local Police Required to Report Bombing Investigations to the FBI’s BATS?

Question from Sam, Are Local Police Required to Report Bombing Investigations to the FBI’s BATS?

Answer from AI:

When it comes to the investigation of bombings or bomb threats, including hoaxes, in the United States, the collaboration between local law enforcement agencies and federal entities is crucial. One of the key tools in this collaborative effort is the Bombing and the Arson Tracking System (BATS), which is managed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Understanding whether local police departments are required to report such incidents to the FBI’s BATS involves examining the nature of BATS, the legal framework surrounding it, and the practical aspects of law enforcement collaboration.

What is BATS?

BATS is a web-based information sharing and management system designed to facilitate the collection, storage, and analysis of information related to bombing incidents, including hoaxes, across the United States. It serves as a central repository for data on bombings, attempted bombings, and bomb threats, enabling law enforcement agencies at all levels to share information and insights.

Legal Framework and Reporting Requirements

The requirement for local police departments to report bombing investigations, including hoaxes, to the FBI’s BATS is not explicitly mandated by a specific federal law. Instead, the reporting to BATS is encouraged as a best practice for information sharing and collaboration among law enforcement agencies. The FBI, through BATS, provides a platform for voluntary reporting, which enhances the collective ability to track and analyze bombing-related incidents.

Collaboration Between Local and Federal Agencies

  • Voluntary Participation: Participation in BATS by local police departments is voluntary. However, many agencies choose to report incidents to benefit from the analytical capabilities of the system and to contribute to a national database that can help in preventing future incidents.
  • Information Sharing Agreements: Some local and federal law enforcement agencies may have information sharing agreements or memorandums of understanding (MOUs) that include provisions for reporting certain types of incidents, including bombings, to federal databases like BATS.
  • Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs): Local police departments that are part of JTTFs may have specific protocols for reporting and investigating bombing incidents, which could include utilizing BATS.

Benefits of Reporting to BATS

Reporting bombing incidents, even hoaxes, to BATS has several benefits for local police departments and the broader law enforcement community:

  1. Enhanced Analytical Tools: BATS provides sophisticated analytical tools that can help in identifying patterns, trends, and potential links between incidents across jurisdictions.
  2. Information Sharing: By contributing to a national database, departments can access information that may aid in their investigations and potentially connect local incidents to broader terrorist activities or networks.
  3. Resource Allocation: Data from BATS can help in the allocation of resources for prevention and response to bombing threats.


While there is no federal mandate requiring local police departments to report all bombing investigations, including hoaxes, to the FBI’s BATS, doing so is considered a best practice in law enforcement circles. The decision to report is often influenced by the benefits of access to national data, analytical tools, and the potential for inter-agency collaboration. Local departments are encouraged to consider the advantages of participating in BATS and to consult with legal counsel or their federal partners to understand any specific reporting protocols or agreements that may apply.

For more detailed information on BATS and its functionalities, you can visit the FBI’s Bomb Data Center. It’s also advisable for law enforcement agencies to consult with legal professionals for personalized advice regarding reporting requirements and collaboration with federal entities.

Note: This information is intended for general guidance and should not be considered as legal advice. Law enforcement agencies should consult with their legal advisors or the FBI directly for specific guidance on reporting requirements and participation in BATS.

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