Criminal Investigation Division
In many ways, the Criminal Investigation Division is the heartbeat of the TBI. Our special 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 our skilled special 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
Meet 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!)
The TBI has the authority to investigate any criminal violation upon the request of the district attorney general for the judicial district where the offense occurred pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated, §38-6-102(a).
Absent a District Attorney's request, the TBI may exercise its original jurisdiction on a number of issues, pursuant to TCA §38-6-102(b). Among the areas on which TBI may exercise its jurisdiction include: investigating fugitives from justice; offenses involving corruption of or misconduct by a public official; employees or prospective employees of the Bureau or Department of Safety; fraudulent conduct involving Social Security Administration Title II and Title XVI disability programs; organized crime activities; victimization of children by means of a computer or other electronic device; human trafficking; and arson. TCA §38-6-102(b)(2) further permits TBI to investigate allegations of felonious conduct resulting in serious bodily injury to a state inmate where the alleged perpetrator is an official, employee, or trustee, if the district attorney refuses to make such a request for investigation and to investigate fraud or corruption in the area of paroles. TCA §38-6-112 permits the state attorney general to request TBI to investigate matters regarding the removal of public officials, unlawful restraint of trade and discrimination, securities fraud, and violations of the Consumer Protection Act. TBI has also been given the authority to investigate domestic terrorism pursuant to TCA §38-6-102(e)(1), and Bureau investigators have the authority to make traffic stops in an emergency, where the safety of the public is in jeopardy. Investigators of the Bureau also are permitted, pursuant to TCA §17-5-301, to assist the Court of the Judiciary when investigating the conduct of judges.
The Criminal Investigation Division's primary goal is to provide the most professional and comprehensive 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 CID is staffed with 140 employees statewide, including all supervisors, criminal investigators, and support staff.
The purpose of TBI's Victim Services Unit is to ensure the victims and witnesses involved in TBI cases are informed of their rights, the investigative process, and the criminal justice process, as required by federal and state law, along with a myriad of supportive services. The needs of victims are met through crisis intervention and counseling, advocacy, education, and information and referrals for victims of crime and trauma.
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.
From July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022, the Polygraph unit performed 223 polygraph examinations, with most of these exams being performed at the request of local law enforcement officials.
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 the cause, origin, and circumstances of the 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.
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.
With the support and funding provided by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and the Tennessee General Assembly, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation created the TBI Overdose and Violent Crime Task Force. This effort provided a cost increase of $500,000, recurring, to stand up and maintain the Overdose Death and Violent Crime Task Force across the state. This funding allows TBI to train, equip, and pay overtime to the participating local officers. These task forces are mutually beneficial to TBI, the officers, and their respective agencies.
TBI provides elite training and equipment to the officers that they otherwise would not have available to them. The parent agencies agree to allow TBI to utilize their officers on an as-needed basis for at least a year and, in return, the agency receives a well-seasoned and equipped investigator. The task force model allows TBI to utilize local law enforcement officers as a force multiplier to combat two major issues facing our state: overdose deaths and violent crime. Currently, TBI has 28 officers participating in our regional Overdose Death Task Force and 22 officers participating in our regional Violent Crime Task Force. These officers come from a variety of different local law enforcement agencies across the state.