A longtime former Charlotte police officer and corporate security consultant has been nominated to become director of the State Bureau of Investigation, Gov. Pat McCrory announced Wednesday.
Bob Schurmeier will take over the agency as soon as he is confirmed by the General Assembly, which goes into session in 12 days.
“It’s an incredible honor,” Schurmeier said at the announcement event in the Executive Mansion, which was attended by several county sheriffs and state officials, along with Schurmeier’s wife and daughter.
Schurmeier retired from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department in 2004 after serving in the state’s largest law enforcement agency for nearly 30 years. He was deputy chief over investigations at the time.
After retiring, he co-founded a private investigation and security consulting firm, U.S. ISS Agency. He said he would take a leave from the company at a time when it has expanded to a third office in Charleston, and said that was a difficult decision.
“But I’ll confess, the gravitational pull to return to law enforcement and the opportunity to serve in this position ultimately carried the day,” he said.
Schurmeier will serve an eight-year term, which the General Assembly established last year when it moved the SBI from under the attorney general’s office to the governor’s administration. The long term was meant to ensure independence from any governor.
Attorney General Roy Cooper and others opposed moving the SBI, saying the change could jeopardize the independence of the agency and hamper public corruption cases.
Asked about that after the announcement event, Schurmeier said he values the SBI’s independence.
“I’ve independently enforced the law my whole career,” he said. “I look forward to doing that here as well.”
Thomas Stith, the governor’s chief of staff, said Schurmeier was the clear choice of a committee of sheriffs, administration officials and others that considered applicants for the job. Stith said the governor outlined what he expected from the committee.
“Most importantly, we were to focus on the individual, the person, and not politics,” Stith said.
B.W. Collier, a longtime member of the SBI, was the first director to be appointed by a governor. McCrory appointed him acting director in August 2014 and then nominated him as director in February 2015. He took the oath of office in July 2015.
In January, Collier unexpectedly announced he would retire, citing personal reasons. This month, McCrory announced that Deputy Director Janie Sutton would serve as acting director. She will continue in that position until Schurmeier is confirmed.