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Criminal Investigation Division

The Criminal Investigation Division (CID) is the largest within the TBI, responsible for providing specialized law enforcement services to agencies across the state. The Criminal Investigation Division was created as a resource for District Attorneys General and state and local law enforcement agencies to call on for expertise in the area of criminal investigation, and as the agency responsible for investigating public corruption and criminal official misconduct at all levels of government. The Bureau continues to be a professional and dedicated law enforcement agency capable of responding to complex and difficult investigations.

The Criminal Investigation Division is made up of four units: the Field Investigation Unit, the Criminal Intelligence Unit (CIU), the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) and the Technical Services Unit (TSU). The Field Investigation Unit is further subdivided into four geographic regions: West Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, East Tennessee and Upper East Tennessee. At any given time, the Criminal Investigation Division has more than 1,500 active cases. The Forensic Services Division, the Information Systems Division and the Administrative Services Division provide general investigative support to the Criminal Investigation Division.

Statutory Responsibilities

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has the authority to investigate any criminal violation upon the request of the District Attorney General for the judicial district where the offense occurred (Tennessee Code Annotated §38-6-102(b)). The TBI, upon request of the Governor, State Attorney General, Commissioner of Correction or a District Attorney, may investigate fraud or corruption in the area of paroles, release classification status and executive clemency (TCA §38-6-102). TCA §38-6-106 gives the TBI the responsibility of conducting background investigations on potential appointees to sensitive state positions upon the request of the Governor or the Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice. The presiding judge of the court of the Judiciary was given the authority to request a TBI investigation into judicial misconduct (TCA §17-5-301). Under TCA §38-6-112, the State Attorney General may also request the TBI conduct investigation into matters regarding the removal of public officials, unlawful restraint of trade and discrimination, securities fraud, and violations of the Consumer Protection Act. In 2001, the TBI was given the responsibility of investigating Social Security Fraud under the same statute.

The TBI has statutory original jurisdiction to investigate without a District Attorney’s request for the following crimes: fugitives from justice, organized crime activities, narcotics and drug violations, employees or prospective employees of the bureau or department of safety, and investigations pertaining to domestic terrorism that the bureau receives under a government information security classification. Executive Order Number 47 gave the TBI the ability to investigate Medicaid fraud without a request from a District Attorney General. Effective in 2008 in Public Chapter 1039, TBI was given the authority to make traffic stops in emergency situations in which the safety of the public is in jeopardy. Under Public Chapter 988 passed in 2008, TBI investigators were given the authority, without a request from a District Attorney General, to open investigations pertaining to victimization of children by means of computer or other electronic communication devices.

The Criminal Investigation Division's primary goal is to provide the most professional and all-inclusive investigations possible by employing state-of-the-art equipment and methods in each of the areas previously outlined. Currently, to accomplish each of the statutory responsibilities outlined, the Criminal Investigation Division is staffed with approximately 160 employees statewide, including all supervisors, criminal investigators, and support staff.