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.

Do Local Police Report Hoax Bombing Investigations to the FBI?

Question from Sam, Do Local Police Report Hoax Bombing Investigations to the FBI?

Answer from AI:

When it comes to handling bomb threats or incidents, even those that turn out to be hoaxes, the procedures followed by law enforcement agencies can be complex. Understanding whether local police report records of bombing investigations that turn out to be hoaxes to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) involves navigating the interplay between local and federal jurisdictions in the United States.

Understanding Jurisdiction and Reporting

In the United States, law enforcement responsibilities are divided among local, state, and federal agencies. Local police departments typically handle crimes and incidents within their specific municipalities, while the FBI, a federal agency, has jurisdiction over more serious offenses that cross state lines or involve national security.

Key Points on Reporting:

  • Local police departments are the first responders to most bomb threats or incidents, including hoaxes.
  • The FBI may become involved if a case involves terrorism, uses interstate commerce to commit the hoax, or if the hoax could potentially affect national security.
  • Local and state agencies often work in collaboration with federal agencies like the FBI in cases that may have broader implications.

Reporting Hoax Bombing Investigations to the FBI

Whether a local police department reports a hoax bombing investigation to the FBI depends on several factors:

  1. Nature of the Threat: If the hoax has elements that suggest potential terrorism or a threat to national security, local police are more likely to involve the FBI.
  2. Use of Interstate Resources: If the hoax involved the use of interstate communication systems or other federal jurisdiction triggers, the FBI would likely be notified.
  3. Request for Federal Assistance: Local agencies might request the assistance of the FBI for their resources, expertise in explosives, or if the scope of the investigation exceeds local capabilities.

Legal Framework and Guidelines

The legal framework governing the reporting and investigation of bomb threats, including hoaxes, involves both federal and state laws. For example, under federal law, making a false bomb threat is a federal crime, as outlined in 18 U.S.C. § 844(e). This statute makes it clear that the FBI has jurisdiction over bomb threats that violate federal law.

Local laws also criminalize the making of bomb threats or hoaxes, with penalties varying by state. In cases where local and federal laws overlap, cooperation and communication between agencies are crucial.

Consulting a Legal Professional

Given the complexity of laws governing bomb threats and the involvement of multiple law enforcement agencies, individuals seeking specific advice on this topic should consult with a legal professional. A lawyer specializing in criminal law or national security law can provide guidance tailored to the specifics of a case.


In summary, local police departments may report records of bombing investigations that turn out to be hoaxes to the FBI, especially if the incident involves potential threats to national security, uses interstate resources, or when local authorities seek federal assistance. The decision to involve the FBI is influenced by the nature of the threat, applicable laws, and the protocols established between local and federal agencies. For more detailed information on the FBI’s role and jurisdiction, you can visit the FBI’s Terrorism Investigation page.

Remember, this information is intended to provide a general overview and should not be considered legal advice. For advice specific to your situation, please consult a legal professional.

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