Open main menu

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) is the state-wide investigative law enforcement agency within the state of Tennessee.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation seal.png
Motto"That guilt shall not escape nor innocence suffer"
Agency overview
FormedMarch 27, 1980
Preceding agency
  • Tennessee Bureau of Criminal Identification
Employees500 (2007 est.)[1]
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionTennessee, United States
Size42,143 sq mi (109,150 km2)
Population6,833,793 (2019 est.)
HeadquartersNashville, Tennessee




The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation was born as a result of a highly publicized murder in Greene County, Tennessee, in December 1949. The heinous crime aroused the emotion of citizens throughout the region. In an address to the Tennessee Press Association in January 1951, John M. Jones Sr., publisher of the Greeneville Sun, called for the creation of an unbiased state agency to assist local law enforcement in the investigation of serious crimes.

On March 14, 1951, Governor Gordon Browning signed a bill into law establishing the Tennessee Bureau of Criminal Identification as the plainclothes division of the Department of Safety. Following a series of legislative hearings by the Tennessee General Assembly, the organization was re-established on March 27, 1980, as an independent agency and renamed the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.


The burea manages the state's three crime labs, assists local law enforcement in investigating major crimes, and conducts special investigations related to illegal drugs, fugitives, public corruption, official misconduct, organized crime, domestic terrorism, healthcare fraud, arson, explosives, and patient abuse.

The TBI has statutory responsibility for collecting state crime statistics, which are published in an annual report. It also manages a TBI most wanted list, AMBER Alert program, and statewide registries of sex offenders and methamphetamine offenders.[1] Next to its headquarters in Nashville, TPB offices are located in Chattanooga, Cookeville, Jackson, Johnson City, Knoxville, and Memphis.

The burea is headed by a director appointed by the Governor of Tennessee to a six-year term. The director is also a member of the Tennessee Law Enforcement Planning Commission. Its current director is former Knoxville Chief of Police David Rausch, who was appointed in 2018. In 2007, the agency employed about 500 people, almost half of whom were commissioned officers.[1]


Its incumbent director was appointed after previous director Mark Gwyn retired less than two years into his third term, amid controversies regarding nepotism in his hiring practices followed by a scathing audit by the Comptroller's office which found he had overspent his budget for four years running.[2][3]

The interim director, Jason Locke, also came under investigation the day David Rausch was appointed due to a complaint received from his wife describing misuse of state funds during an affair with another state employee at the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c TBI, Tennessee Blue Book 2007–2008, p. 271.
  2. ^ News Channel 5, Phil Williams, Nov 20, 2017
  3. ^ News Channel 5, Phil Williams, Apr 26, 2018
  4. ^ News Channel 5, Phil Williams, Jun 18, 2018

External linksEdit