The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) was statutorily created by the Kansas Legislature in 1939 after nearly a decade of campaigning by the Kansas Bankers Association, the Kansas Livestock Association and the Kansas Peace Officers Association.
The KBI was placed under the jurisdiction of the attorney general of Kansas and the law creating the KBI was described as, "An Act creating a bureau of investigation, and providing for investigators for the detection and apprehension of criminals."
The original KBI complement was limited to a director and nine special agents, each of whom would have "... all powers and privileges ... given to the sheriffs of the state of Kansas."
Kansas newspapers of the period and comments at the time from the governor, the attorney general, legislators, police chiefs and sheriffs made it clear that the KBI's mission was to provide expert investigative assistance to Kansas law enforcement, especially in the areas of bank robbery, cattle rustling and homicide.
The KBI continues today as the lead investigative and forensic agency in the state in service to the Kansas criminal justice system and Kansas law enforcement community. The KBI response to that clientele has been ever-evolving, depending on their needs and requests. Today the KBI pursues more narcotic traffickers, violent serial offenders and cyber criminals than cattle rustlers and bootleggers.
Since 1939 twelve KBI directors have served at the pleasure of sixteen attorneys general.