Skip to Main Content

Find COVID-19 Information and Resources

Criminal Investigation Division

With approximately 120 employees, the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) is the largest within TBI, responsible for providing specialized law enforcement services to agencies across Tennessee. 

Melton_Joshua

Assistant Director
Josh Melton

(615) 744-4000

In many ways, the Criminal Investigation Division is the heartbeat of the TBI. Working in four geographic regions, West Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, East Tennessee, and Upper East Tennessee, our Agents handle a variety of investigations and often work alongside local departments to ensure and improve the safety of communities across the state.

At any given time, the CID has more than 1,500 active cases, in which Agents strive to provide the most professional and all-inclusive investigations by employing state-of-the-art equipment and methods.

Recent CID News Releases

Can you help us solve a mystery?

Click above to watch stories and read highlights of cases we're still working to solve. If you have information that might help, let us know by calling 1-800-TBI-FIND!

Our four-legged crime fighters!

Click above to get to know our team of K9 Agents, learn about their specialized skills, and see how they make an impact across the state. (Oh, and there are plenty of pictures!)

Under Tennessee law, the TBI has the authority to investigate any criminal violation upon the request of a District Attorney General for the judicial district in which the offense occurred. Under certain circumstances, TBI Agents may also be requested to investigate corruption, judicial misconduct, Social Security fraud and other offenses, in addition to the backgrounds of potential appointees to sensitive state positions.

The TBI has original jurisdiction, under Tennessee law, to investigate the following crimes without a formal request: fugitives from justice, public corruption, conduct of judges, Medicaid fraud, victimization of children by computer or other electronic device, human trafficking, organized crime activities, criminal offenses related to arson and explosives, narcotics and drug violations, employees or prospective employees of the Bureau or Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, and investigations pertaining to domestic terrorism that the Bureau receives under a government information security classification.

The State Attorney General can request the TBI to investigate matters including the removal of public officials, securities fraud, and violations of the Consumer Protection Act.

Victim Services

In 2015, the TBI launched a Victim Services program to ensure the victims and witnesses involved in TBI investigations know their rights, the TBI investigative process, and the criminal justice process, as required by federal and state law.

As part of the program, TBI's Victim Services Coordinators refer victims to any available community resources to meet their assessed needs as a result of the crime committed against them. TBI personnel also update victims and their families about their case, thereby allowing TBI's Special Agents to spend more time on investigative methods.

Focusing on TBI victims and building rapport with them and their families fosters a more conducive environment for meaningful information-sharing and better victim testimonials for any future court proceedings, which is why TBI's Victim Services Coordinator works closely with colleagues throughout the state affiliated with the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference.

CONTACT:  Cathy Blakely, Victim Services Coordinator

The TBI's Polygraph Unit consists of six Special Agent polygraph examiners, assigned to TBI's four regions across the state.

All polygraph examiners are graduates of American Polygraph Association-accredited polygraph training centers and licensed by the State of Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Polygraph Unit is nationally accredited by Polygraph Law Enforcement Accreditation (PLEA) and remains the only polygraph unit in the State of Tennessee to have achieved this accreditation.

The unit conducts polygraph examinations regarding allegations of criminal conduct at the request of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. Staff also conducts pre-employment polygraph examinations for potential employees of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

The West Tennessee Field Unit is in Jackson with a satellite office in Memphis, and is made up of 21 counties and seven judicial districts. One Special Agent in Charge and two Assistant Special Agents in Charge supervise 23 employees. Those employees include: three Administrative Assistants, one Intelligence Analyst, 12 Special Agents assigned to conduct criminal investigations in field territories, and seven Special Agent Fire Investigators assigned to conduct fire/explosive investigations. 

The Middle Tennessee Field Unit office is in Nashville and is made up of 28 counties and nine judicial districts. One Special Agent in Charge and two Assistant Special Agents in Charge supervise 23 employees Those employees include: 14 Special Agents assigned to conduct criminal investigations in field territories, six Special Agent Fire Investigators assigned to conduct fire/explosive investigations, one Administrative Assistant, one Intelligence Analyst and one Victim Services Coordinator. 

The East Tennessee Field Unit office is in Chattanooga with a satellite office located in Cookeville and serves 25 counties and seven judicial districts. One Special Agent in Charge and two Assistant Special Agents in Charge supervise 22 employees. Those employees include: one Administrative Assistant, one Intelligence Analyst, one Special Agent Accelerant Detection Canine Handler, six Special Agent Fire Investigators and 11 Special Agents assigned to conduct criminal investigations in field territories.

The East SAC also supervises the State Human Trafficking Unit. The Human Trafficking Unit consists of one Assistant Special Agent in Charge, four Special Agents and one Human Trafficking Grant Coordinator. 

The Upper East Tennessee Field Unit office is in Knoxville with a satellite office in Johnson City, and serves 21 counties and eight judicial districts. One Special Agent in Charge and two Assistant Special Agents in Charge supervise 21 employees. Those employees include: two Administrative Assistants, one Intelligence Analyst, 12 Special Agents assigned to conduct criminal investigations in field territories, including two Special Agents who are assigned to work Homeland Security as well as criminal investigations, and six Special Agent Fire Investigators assigned to fire/explosive investigations, including one who is an Accelerant Detection Canine Handler.

TBI's fire investigators respond to incidents involving fire across the state that are destructive to buildings and other properties as well as those that result in fatalities.  We work closely with local jurisdictions to determine cause, origin, and circumstances of fire. In conjunction with the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, TBI supports efforts to organize education and training programs within the state for local and federal agencies to further protect the safety of Tennesseans and their property.

Arson Hotline
The Arson Hotline (1-800-762-3017) is a phone line dedicated to receiving information about suspicious and incendiary fires. It is answered 24 hours a day and callers may remain anonymous when providing information. Cash awards, provided solely through the generous assistance of the Tennessee Advisory Committee on Arson (TACA), are offered for information leading to an arrest or conviction.

Support for the hotline is the result of an ongoing partnership between the TBI and TACA.