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.

Should Police Share Hoax Bomb Threat Reports Across State Lines?

Question from Josh, Should Police Share Hoax Bomb Threat Reports Across State Lines?

Answer from AI:

When police receive a tip about a potential bomb threat, even if it turns out to be a hoax, the situation is taken very seriously. The question of whether police should share information about such hoaxes, especially when the suspect resides in a different state, involves understanding the complexities of jurisdiction, interagency cooperation, and the role of federal agencies like the FBI in domestic security.

Understanding Jurisdiction and Interagency Cooperation

Jurisdiction refers to the official power to make legal decisions and judgments. In the context of law enforcement in the United States, jurisdiction can be local, state, or federal. Typically, local police handle crimes within their specific areas, state police cover issues that span multiple localities within the state, and federal agencies like the FBI deal with crimes that cross state lines or national security issues.

Interagency cooperation is crucial in effectively addressing crimes that have broader implications, such as bomb threats. This cooperation is facilitated through various means, including information sharing.

When Should Police Share Information with the FBI?

The decision to share information about a hoax bomb threat with the FBI or other federal agencies depends on several factors:

  1. Nature of the Threat: Even if a threat is determined to be a hoax, its nature—such as targeting federal buildings, infrastructure, or crossing state lines—may warrant federal attention.
  2. Interstate Implications: If the suspect lives in a different state from where the threat was made, this could potentially involve federal jurisdiction, making it appropriate for local or state police to share information with the FBI.
  3. Patterns of Behavior: If the hoax is part of a series of threats or is linked to larger patterns of criminal behavior, sharing information can help in broader investigations.

Legal Frameworks for Information Sharing

Several laws and agreements facilitate the sharing of information between state and federal agencies. For example, the Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Act have provisions that encourage or sometimes mandate information sharing to protect national security. Additionally, the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) provides a framework for sharing data between agencies at all levels of government.

Recommendations for Law Enforcement Agencies

While specific policies may vary, the following general guidelines can help determine when and how to share information about hoax threats:

  • Assess the threat’s potential impact on national security or interstate commerce.
  • Consult with legal teams to ensure compliance with relevant laws and policies.
  • Use established protocols and systems for information sharing to ensure data security and privacy.


In cases of hoax bomb threats where the suspect resides in a different state, it is often prudent for local or state police to share investigative reports with federal agencies like the FBI. This cooperation can help in broader efforts to prevent real threats and understand patterns of criminal behavior. However, the decision to share information should always be guided by the specifics of the case, legal requirements, and the potential benefits to public safety.

Note: This information provides a general overview and should not be considered legal advice. Law enforcement agencies should consult their legal departments or federal partners to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and policies. For more detailed guidance, visiting the FBI’s official website or the Department of Homeland Security’s website can provide additional resources and information on interagency cooperation and information sharing.

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