The director of the State Bureau of Investigation announced Tuesday that he will retire, far short of what was supposed to be an eight-year term.
B.W. Collier said personal reasons, including wanting to spend more time with his family, prompted his decision to retire on April 1, an SBI spokeswoman said.
Collier was the first director to run the SBI after the Republican-led legislature moved control of the bureau from the attorney general to the governor last year. The reorganization sparked complaints that it was a political move meant to reduce the authority of Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat.
Cooper and Democratic legislators fought the reorganization, saying it could create conflicts for any SBI investigations that would involve the governor’s administration. To ensure the agency remains free of political influence, the legislature set a term of eight years for the director and limited the reasons a governor can remove the director.
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Collier, who had a long career with the bureau, was appointed acting director in August 2014 after Gov. Pat McCrory removed Greg McLeod, who led the SBI under Cooper. Collier took the oath of office in July 2015.
“North Carolina is fortunate and grateful to have benefited from Director Collier’s leadership and service to the state, which has spanned nearly his entire professional career,” McCrory said in a statement his office released Tuesday. “He is the personification of dedicated and selfless public service.”
During his 26 years with the SBI, Collier has been a drug investigator, pilot, arson and crime scene agent, canine handler, technical agent and bomb squad commander. He was in charge of the section that handles intelligence gathering.
McCrory had appointed him as director of Alcohol Law Enforcement in 2013.
“I am very pleased with the path the SBI is on and have great confidence in the current agency leadership,” Collier said in a statement issued by the agency.
The governor will appoint an acting director, who will serve until the General Assembly confirms the appointment.