CJIS Division

Committed to delivering accurate and comprehensive information-sharing services to further enhance public safety. 


Assistant Director
Yeselin Pendleton

The CJIS Division provides support and service for local, state, and federal criminal justice agencies, including the different divisions within TBI. Support comes in the form of a wide variety of complex systems such as the state repository of criminal history records and the system for background checks, including mandated background checks for potential gun purchasers, teachers, and medical licensure.

Click here for information, instructions, and more detail on how to obtain criminal history checks.

From violent crime to property crime and more, see crime data from your community with our easy-to-use platform! 

Click here for information, details, and FAQs on the state's system to provide background checks at the point of sale or transfer of firearms.

From school crime to domestic violence, our crime reports provide valuable snapshots on a variety of high-interest crime topics.

Click here for procedures and contact information for court-permitted adjustments to criminal histories.

Click here for an in-depth look at our agency, our mission, and our most recent progress to protect and serve Tennesseans.

The CJIS Division of TBI is responsible for requiring the development, maintenance, and distribution of certain information relating to crime, criminals, and criminal activities for the benefit of all state and local criminal justice agencies in Tennessee. Additionally, CJIS requirements mandate the division to perform fingerprint-based background checks for several areas of employment including, but not limited to, school personnel, health-related employees, and those persons who assist vulnerable populations such as persons with developmental and physical disabilities. The CJIS Division is also responsible for performing name-based checks for the approval of sales and pawn redemptions for all firearm transactions in Tennessee pursuant to the Federal Brady Act. In addition, the division also performs in-state, name-based records checks from inquiries submitted by the public.

The CJIS Division also houses the Tennessee Crime Information Center (TCIC), which acts as a communications hub during normal business hours and assumes emergency communications responsibilities within the TBI after hours, on weekends, and on holidays. The TCIC provides services twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week.

The CJIS Support Center encompasses the Tennessee Incident Based Reporting System (TIBRS), the state’s Statistical Analysis Center, the National Data Exchange System (N-DEx) and the personnel tasked to work within those programs including one CJIS Supervisor and eight CJIS Support Specialists. While CJIS Support Specialists are located in other areas of the Bureau, those working in the CJIS Support Center include four auditors, two trainers (one vacant), one providing data support, including data processing and data quality, one for data analysis and one specialist whose primary responsibility is the publishing of data.

The CJIS Support Center also collects data for additional programs such as Law Enforcement Related Deaths (LERD) data collection. This program includes data collection for Use of Force incidents, (UofF), Arrest Related Non-Forcible Deaths (ARNFD), and Deaths in Custody Reporting Act (DCRA). The CJIS Support Center is also responsible for managing Tennessee’s participation in the National Data Exchange System (N-DEx). The N-DEx system provides law enforcement officers with immediate access to criminal justice records from tens of thousands of agencies across the nation. Users can view multiple types of reports including, but not limited to, incident and arrest reports, booking and incarceration reports, pre-trial investigations, and probation and parole records. The N-DEx collaboration function, which allows users to invite authorized members from other qualified agencies, enables users to team up with other investigators to quickly and securely share images, videos, charts, graphs, notes, case reports, etc. Visualization tools depict associations between people, places, things, and events on charts or maps. With the subscription and notification feature, investigators receive notifications if other users are searching for the same criteria or if a new record related to one of their investigations enters the system.

N-DEx is capable of providing a snapshot of an encountered person, including available criminal records, associations, identifiers, and photographs. A search of N-DEx will return results that include any related information found within the nationwide system. The Person Entity View gathers information from all of these records and presents it in an easy-to-read format, allowing a law enforcement officer to quickly view all related reports and narratives as a single document. A search of an address will alert the officer if past interactions with the criminal justice community have occurred.

As of June 30, 2021, Tennessee has recruited 1,950 active users from multiple agencies, including some federal agencies, throughout the state to participate in the N-DEx system. Initially implemented by the FBI, NIBRS (National Incident Based Reporting System) improved the overall quality of crime data collected by law enforcement. Tennessee’s crime reporting model, deemed “TIBRS”, captures details on each single crime incident, including information on victims, known offenders, victim-to-offender relationships, arrestees and property involved in each offense reported within the incident.

In addition, each incident can contain up to ten offenses, allowing for even more detailed reporting. TIBRS goes much deeper because of its ability to provide circumstances of a crime such as location, time of day, and any arrest or clearance that occurred subsequent to the investigation. The Uniform Crime Reporting Summary Program, once used by Tennessee, reported only an aggregate monthly tally of crimes. These included ten offenses plus an additional twenty offenses, which collected only arrest data. TIBRS data currently collects information on fifty- four offenses and an additional ten offenses containing arrestee data only.

The FBI has made nationwide implementation of NIBRS a top priority because the program provides statistics that are more useful. Proper use of this information promotes better planning, informed policing, and more informed policy-making decisions.

To increase participation, the UCR Program collaborated with the Bureau of Justice Statistics to transition the UCR Summary Program to a NIBRS-only data collection by January 1, 2021. The vision for NIBRS is to become the law enforcement community standard for collecting crime data, which will help law enforcement and communities around the country use resources more strategically and effectively.

At the request of the FBI, the CJIS Division has committed one person to act as a liaison during the UCR to NIBRS transition. Although all states are now transitioning to NIBRS, there are thousands of agencies that have yet to begin collecting and submitting incident-based data. They are working toward NIBRS certification with the liaison providing them much-needed guidance. CJIS TIBRS Trainers also provide a host of training, including Introduction to Data Collection and RAC Orientation, both of which are required for new RACs (Reporting Agency Coordinators). These classes provide insight into TIBRS and the state reporting software, both of which incorporate federal and state statutes and reporting requirements. 

The CJIS Support Center is also responsible for annual publications such as ‘Crime in Tennessee,’ ‘Crime on Campus,’ ‘School Crime Report,’ ‘Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA),’ ‘Hate Crime,’ ‘Law Enforcement-Related Deaths (LERD),’ ‘Domestic Violence’ and the TBI’s Annual Report.

The National Crime Information Center, or NCIC, accessible by virtually every law enforcement and criminal justice agency in the nation, and considered the lifeline of law enforcement, is a clearinghouse of crime data available twenty-four hours a day, 365 days per year. It helps law enforcement and criminal justice agency personnel apprehend fugitives, locate missing persons, recover stolen property, and identify terrorists. It also assists law enforcement officers in performing their duties more safely and provides information necessary to protect the public.

Launched in 1967, NCIC began with 5 files and 356,784 records. The database currently consists of 22 files. There are seven property files containing records of stolen articles, boats, guns, license plates, parts, securities, and vehicles. There are 14 persons files, including Supervised Release; National Sex Offender Registry; Foreign Fugitive; Immigration Violator; Missing Person; Protection Order; Unidentified Person; Protective Interest; Gang; Known or Appropriately Suspected Terrorist; Wanted Person; Identity Theft; Violent Person; and National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Denied Transaction. The system also contains images that can be associated with NCIC records to help agencies identify people and property items. The Interstate Identification Index, which contains automated criminal history record information, is accessible through the same network as NCIC.

Tennessee’s Information Enforcement System (TIES), housed in the Law Enforcement Support Unit of the CJIS Division, operates under the same guidelines as those fashioned by the FBI. The TIES Operation Unit, available twenty-four hours a day, seven days per week, also houses the Tennessee Crime Information Center (TCIC) and assumes emergency communications responsibilities within the TBI after hours and on weekends. In addition to the emergency communications responsibilities, TIES Operations personnel are responsible for providing technical support for local, state, and federal agencies with connectivity to the TIES network and monitoring the performance of that same network.

In order to ensure all users follow standard operating procedures and reinforce system security and system use, LESU maintains TIES trainers to teach various classes to law enforcement and criminal justice agency employees. Classes include a Basic Certification class, the annual TIES conference, TIES Review class, and a TAC Orientation class held six times per year. The TIES training staff is also available to present at local agencies during in-service or other requested times

The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), established for Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs), mandates information to be supplied immediately on whether the transfer of a firearm would be in violation of Section 922 (g) or (n) of Title 18, United States Code, or state law.

NICS, a national system, checks available records on persons disqualified from receiving firearms. The FBI, through a cooperative effort with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and local and state law enforcement, developed the system. The NICS is a computerized background check system designed to respond instantly to most background check inquiries so the FFLs (Federal Firearms Licensees) receive an almost immediate response.

The Tennessee Instant Check System (TICS) began operation on November 1, 1998. The requirements of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (18 U.S.C. 922(t) were incorporated into the Tennessee gun transfer statute with an amendment to T.C.A. § 39-17-1316. This amendment required TBI to establish and maintain a background check system that meets or exceeds the requirements established by the Brady Act for continuing recipient background checks on all firearms transactions except those specifically excluded by law. To meet these requirements, TICS accesses all databases in the reference chart below when processing the required TICS/NICS background check of any person seeking to purchase a firearm from a licensed firearm dealer or to redeem a firearm from pawn from a licensed firearm dealer. In TICS, approximately 80% of all firearm transactions are processed in less than five minutes.

TBI serves as the state repository for fingerprint-based criminal records information in the state of Tennessee. The Biometrics Services Center (BSC) is responsible for the processing and maintenance of all information related to the repository, as well as for several associated legislatively mandated duties and programs. These duties include the processing of all criminal law enforcement applicant and civil applicant fingerprint information, and other associated records functions including the processing of final court dispositions, applications for pre-trial and judicial diversions, court orders for expungement of criminal records, and other matters of clerical maintenance of information in the records repository. The BSC utilizes the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) to process each submission of fingerprint information to determine the identification of an individual using fingerprint characteristics to build the criminal record in the repository. The Biometrics Services Center includes the Data Quality Unit, the Criminal Records Unit, and the Fee Programs Unit.

Data Quality Unit

Criminal Records Unit

The Criminal Records Unit expunges criminal history information upon receipt of an order, signed by a judge, from the court. The FBI, upon receipt of processed Tennessee records, removes those charges from the federal criminal history records maintained in the federal repository. The Criminal Records Unit also enters final court disposition information into the state repository. Disposition information, sent to TBI by law enforcement agencies, court clerks from the 95 counties, and municipal courts, provides information relative to the outcome of the judicial process for each arrest.

Fee Programs Unit

The Fee Programs Unit provides criminal background information to the public, upon receipt of a proper request and associated fee. The Tennessee Open Records Information Services (TORIS) background checks are “name-based” checks only and do not involve the submission of fingerprints. The information provided to the requestor is Tennessee criminal history information only.  The Fee Programs Unit also processes fingerprint-based background checks through the Tennessee Applicant Processing Services system or TAPS system. TAPS background checks are nationwide and only applicable entities mandated by the Tennessee Legislature are qualified to fingerprint applicants through the TAPS system. Some examples of applicant types include healthcare workers, teachers, unarmed guards, childcare employees, and those seeking to obtain a handgun carry permit.

The CJIS Systems Officer (CSO) monitors system use, enforces system discipline, and ensures users follow proper CJIS operating procedures. The CSO is also a member of the CJIS Advisory Policy Board (APB). The CSO is a member of the CJIS Advisory Policy Board (APB). The CJIS Systems Officer serves as a liaison for NLETS, the Southern Working Group, and the N-dex taskforce, a research and analysis network whose primary goal is to collect, share, and analyze innovative and timely knowledge, information, best practices, services, and solutions for justice information sharing.

The CJIS Division uses the services of a CJIS employee who acts as a quality control consultant and oversees special projects, which are chosen specifically by the Assistant Director.