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What We Do

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) provides investigative and specialized law enforcement services to prevent and solve crimes in partnership with law enforcement, public safety and criminal justice agencies. Services include criminal BCA Strategic Planjustice training and development, forensic laboratory analysis, criminal histories and investigations.

Read the BCA's Strategic Plan.

Related Minnesota Statutes

Minnesota statute 299C.01 placed the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension under the direction of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety in 1969. Dozens of other state statutes, state rules, and federal laws govern BCA operations in a variety of areas including criminal histories, lab operations, investigations and more.  Links to those statutes and rules can be found in the related sections of this website.


Wade Setter was named BCA Superintendent in spring 2011. Setter has been with the Superintendent Wade SetterDepartment of Public Safety since 2007. Prior to his appointment superintendent, Setter served as Deputy Director of the division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Setter is a 28-year veteran of the Brooklyn Park Police Department serving his last 12 years as Chief of Police.  Setter holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Law Enforcement, ​a Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice, and has a wide variety of law enforcement experience including extensive investigative, narcotic enforcement and leadership experience. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Executive Seminar in Quantico, Virginia.



The BCA employs more than 300 agents, analysts, scientists, trainers and support staff at its headquarters and lab in St. Paul, its Bemidji regional office and lab and ten field offices. 


The Minnesota legislature created the BCA in 1927 to assist peace officers statewide in solving crimes and apprehending criminals. The division of statistics, a forerunner of the BCA facility, Saint Paul, MinnesotaMinnesota Justice Information Services (MNJIS), was added in 1935, as were additional personnel and full police power for the bureau's agents.

The BCA lab became operational in 1947, and the BCA became a part of the newly-created Department of Public Safety in 1969. The BCA established one of the first DNA laboratories in the nation in 1990, and shortly afterward became the first in the nation to identify a suspect based solely on DNA. Read more about the BCA's history. 


The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension partners with state and local criminal justice agencies on investigations, Amber Alerts, Crime Alerts and criminal justice data integration. Efforts to improve public safety are also furthered through relationships with federal programs like the FBI, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, the DARE Program and more.