Technology & Innovation
The Technology and Innovation Division was created in September 2019 as a concentration point for the many ways technology can be used to perform and enhance TBI’s public safety mission. TID is made up of the Information Systems Unit, the Criminal Intelligence Unit, and the Technical Services Unit. TID members maintain the business systems that sustain TBI’s modern workforce, conduct complex investigations and analyses, and support the Tennessee law enforcement community with the latest in intelligence - and digital evidence-gathering tools. These units keep TBI personnel and their law enforcement partners connected, situationally aware, and fully equipped to work the digital crime scenes of the 21st century.
ISU is the TBI’s information technology hub, with responsibility for running TBI’s data center and business technology, managing critical communications, and facilitating the creation, deployment, and maintenance of systems for all of the Bureau’s components and many external customers. ISU makes sure that TBI personnel can work effectively whenever and wherever their duties require.
Core Technology Team
The Core Team is responsible for translating business requirements and/or legislative mandates into viable systems and design strategies with an emphasis on adaptability, scalability, availability, and recoverability including defining opportunities for integration, the selection of tools to facilitate the integration, specification of data to be shared, as well as defining the appropriate interfaces. The Team’s primary goal is to review and implement emerging developments, technologies, and standards with the intent of improving the Bureau’s quality of service and operational efficiency. The Core Team conducts a continuous review of existing and new industry programs/projects considering current Bureau technology standards, policies, and future technology plans with regard to improving TBI’s operational platform. This process includes the evaluation and selection of appropriate hardware, operating system software, and monitoring applications. The team also provides consulting and guidance regarding proposed programs, projects, and/or initiatives by developing and implementing the accepted technology strategy, as well as oversees the research and development of said projects, including system testing, information system security, and maintenance.
Application Development & Project Management Team
The Application Development Team is comprised primarily of software developers and application administrators. This team provides support for TBI’s internal software systems, including maintenance of current systems, development of new applications, and coordination with vendors on support of custom-written software. Systems supported include the State of Tennessee public Sex Offender Registry (SOR) website, the Investigation+Evidence System (I+E) case management system, TnCop, CRMS/Fusion System, and the Tennessee Computerized Criminal History (CCH), along with many others.
Service Desk Team
The Service Desk Team is made up of TBI's Business Technical Support staff. They provide support (deployment, replacement, upgrades, and recycling of equipment) for hardware, software, and phone systems used by all TBI staff. This hardware includes more than a thousand desktops/laptops, along with desk phones, cell phones, cellular MiFi devices, and Air cards for all Bureau employees. The Service Desk also provides basic-level support for numerous software applications and technical support for conference room devices and Microsoft Surface Hubs. In addition, they are responsible for fulfilling requests for new hardware, software, and phones, as well as administering the onboarding and offboarding of user accounts. The Service Desk also maintains a 24/7 on-call rotation for after-hours support.
The Network Team supports the network infrastructure services for TBI Headquarters and remote offices. This includes maintenance and upgrades for all CISCO networking equipment; troubleshooting; managing Access Control Lists for network devices and users to ensure access to internal resources; monitoring network and firewall traffic; and investigating suspicious network activity. The Network Team also supports outside vendor and law enforcement agencies' access and connection to the TBI. This includes NLETS, NCIC, and AFIS. The Team also provides 24/7 on-call support.
The Criminal Intelligence Unit (CIU) is responsible for the collection, collation, analysis, and dissemination of information related to criminal activity throughout the state. The unit also oversees several of the Bureau's high-profile public programs.
Tennessee Sex Offender Registry
The Tennessee Sex Offender Registry (SOR) began as a result of the enactment of federal laws that required states to create and maintain individual sex offender registries. Tennessee’s SOR was implemented in January 1995 as mandated by Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA) 40-39-101, which is now TCA 40-39-201. TBI headquarters is the central repository for original sex offender registration documents and TBI is responsible for creating and maintaining a connection to the Sex Offender Registration, Verification, and Tracking System for all law enforcement agencies which register sex offenders. The TBI SOR unit serves and assists Tennessee law enforcement agencies including sheriff’s offices, police departments, the Tennessee Department of Correction, as well as out-of-state agencies. The TBI SOR unit not only oversees the state sex offender database, but provides training and support to registering agencies, ensures the accuracy of sex offender classifications and registrations, manages federal grant projects, issues SOR notifications to the public and law enforcement, conducts file audits, removes deceased offenders from the registry, and reviews sex offender terminations. Employees audit files for completeness and request necessary court documents in order for TBI SOR attorneys to determine an offender’s classification.
Tennessee currently registers offenders who have pleaded to or are found guilty of certain offenses (TCA 40-39-201) or equivalent offenses from other jurisdictions, no matter the date of conviction, plea, or expiration of sentence. Offenders who do not meet Tennessee’s criteria, but are required to register in other states, may also be required to register under certain circumstances. Sex offenders are registered by local law enforcement or the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC), The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) is responsible for the registry website and for maintaining the original registration documents. There are approximately 350 registering agencies in the State of Tennessee.
All registered offenders, with the exception of juveniles, can be found on the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation public access sex offender website.
Through funding from federal SORNA grants, TBI developed an improved SOR database that launched in August 2018. Federal grants are utilized to enhance the Tennessee Sex Offender Registry and ensure that the Tennessee SOR is in compliance with the recommendations set by the Department of Justice - Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART) guidelines, to improve the TBI public website, fund overtime and equipment, to assist with the digitization of paper files, develop education resources and online SOR training courses for the public and the SOR registering agencies.
In 2016, SOR launched and continues to utilize the Mobile Sex Offender Registry Application for registering agencies. This allows registering agencies to update sex offender information while working in the field. The mobile application allows registering agencies to enter information that is directly uploaded to the registry and into NCIC.
The SOR unit provides SOR new-user training, annual training for current SOR users, and training for new law enforcement officers.
In 2017, TBI was awarded a federal grant to improve SOR training throughout the state. SOR developed three online courses that are available to law enforcement. The first course, SOR 101, provides an overview of the Tennessee Sex Offender Registry.
TBI analysts assist with SOR compliance operations across the state. The SOR compliance checks are joint operations with multiple law enforcement agencies including TBI, registering agencies, and the U.S. Marshals Service. TBI analysts create intelligence packets on each registered offender for the operations which contain a copy of the most recent SOR registration form, criminal record/warrant check, and DL information. During the compliance checks, law enforcement will make contact with each registered sex offender and verify their offender information, including residence, vehicles, employment, and compliance with any offender restrictions (i.e. children present, computers/internet, and firearms) when applicable. If a registered sex offender is found in violation of SOR rules, warrants are obtained by the registering agency.
Convicted sex offenders in Tennessee are required to register annually or quarterly depending on the offense and pay an annual administrative cost between $150-$200.
Human Trafficking Analysis
The Human Trafficking (HT) Unit is part of the Criminal Investigation Division. The Criminal Intelligence Unit utilizes Intelligence Analysts to support the HT program statewide.
Tennessee Missing Person Unit
The Tennessee Missing Person Unit (formerly the Missing Children Clearinghouse) of CIU is responsible for assisting law enforcement agencies with missing children and vulnerable, missing adults. The Holly Bobo Act and Silver Alert were passed into law in 2021 which expands TBI's responsibilities and authorizes TBI to issue endangered missing alerts for individuals over the age of 18 who meet the specified criteria. The unit now oversees several alerts including Amber Alerts, Endangered Child Alerts, and Silver Alerts. The unit is also responsible for TBI missing person website additions, monthly bulletins for missing children, and the Silver Alert program that is distributed to local and state partners.
TENNESSEE MISSING CHILDREN CLEARINGHOUSE
TBI is mandated to act as the clearinghouse for missing children for the State of Tennessee and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). TBI is responsible for distributing a uniform missing child report to all law enforcement agencies and the legislature once per month. By virtue of TCA 38-6-116(b)(3) and 38-6-117, the TBI is also responsible for establishing, maintaining, and managing a file of “Missing Children”, for collecting any available relevant data concerning the missing children, and for disseminating the information to the appropriate law enforcement agencies. Tennessee averages approximately 600 missing children per month who are entered into NCIC by local law enforcement agencies. CIU has one Intelligence Analyst who serves as the Missing Children’s Clearinghouse Manager for the state.
AMBER ALERT/ENDANGERED CHILD ALERT
The CIU Missing Children’s Clearinghouse Manager/Intelligence Analyst coordinates Tennessee’s statewide Child Abduction AMBER Alert Plan. All CIU Intelligence Analysts serve on an on-call
rotation (24 hours a day) to facilitate the rapid activation of AMBER Alerts, and Endangered Child Alerts and provide support on the TBI command post as needed for crisis events across the state.
Upon the issuance of an AMBER Alert, TBI utilizes the media, social media, National Weather Service, automated cell phone notifications through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) highway signs, and the Tennessee Lottery to provide information rapidly to the general public. In 2021, the Holly Bobo Act extended the Endangered Child Alert program to include individuals who are under the age of 21.
SILVER ALERT PROGRAM
In May 2021, the Silver Alert Bill (TCA 38-6-121) was passed into law. The Silver Alert Bill replaced the Care Alert program. TBI was designated to oversee the program, implement statewide protocols, and provide training for law enforcement agencies. As a result of the bill, CIU received two additional intelligence analyst positions that were filled during the fiscal year. TBI utilizes the media and social media to quickly notify the public for assistance in locating vulnerable, missing adults who meet the criteria set forth in the Silver Alert Bill.
This unit provides training to law enforcement officers at the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy four times a year, as well as throughout the year to local agencies upon request. The unit has provided training on the Silver Alert program to over 300 commissioned law enforcement officers throughout the state of Tennessee, as well as 70 non-commissioned citizens.
In addition to providing training to law enforcement agencies, CIU has also partnered with other state agencies and nonprofit organizations, such as Alzheimer’s Tennessee and The Arc Tennessee, to raise awareness of the Silver Alert Program and TN CareKit.
There are Intelligence Analysts who are assigned to gather information and criminal intelligence concerning gangs in Tennessee. They meet, train, and speak with gang units and task forces across the state on a regular basis. Monthly meetings are coordinated by TBI and are held in several locations across the state. Quarterly, these participants attend a statewide gang intelligence meeting that is held at TBI Headquarters, bringing investigators from throughout the state together to collaborate and share information.
The Criminal Intelligence Unit is also responsible for the administration of the TBI's Most Wanted Fugitive Program, which strives to ensure at least two fugitives are listed from each of the three grand divisions of Tennessee. Intelligence Analysts and the TBI Public Information Office utilize media contacts for exposure of these cases and include a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the capture of a fugitive listed on the Most Wanted list. The TBI has an active online and social media presence that is also utilized for this program. Wanted bulletins are prepared by the unit and disseminated to law enforcement officers and the public. TBI agents are assigned to all Most Wanted Fugitive cases. This allows TBI to better facilitate the exchange of intelligence and information, ensuring that all pertinent leads are being followed up on, and also allowing us to pay rewards out as needed. Most Wanted Fugitive cases can be TBI-originated or in support of local law enforcement investigations.
In addition to the Most Wanted Fugitive Program, the Criminal Intelligence Unit also assists the other divisions of the TBI with intelligence support of their fugitive investigations. CIU also supports the U.S. Marshals Joint Fugitive Task Force in Nashville, TN.
Criminal Case Support
Intelligence Analysts assigned to this section support the criminal investigations of law enforcement officers at federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies through the analysis of intelligence, conducting database queries, and the production of case support and tactical intelligence products.
The Gangs, Fugitives, and Criminal Case Support section contains several Intelligence Analysts trained to conduct social media analysis and investigation. These analysts provide criminal case support and real-time intelligence updates during TBI special operations, sex offender round-ups, human trafficking operations, missing children investigations, fugitive investigations, and any other type of investigation upon request. This support is provided to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.
TBI Homeland Online Records (THOR)
The Criminal Intelligence Unit serves as administrator of THOR (TBI Homeland Online Records). THOR is a joint venture between the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security that fosters information sharing for all law enforcement personnel in Tennessee. THOR is an online database that contains information regarding incidents, arrests, gang data, and suspicious activity carried out within the borders of Tennessee, as well as driver’s licenses, sex offender records, TNCOP, and TN Department of Corrections records. THOR gives users the ability to query this information across all participating agencies throughout Tennessee. THOR is mobile-capable and designed to improve officer safety with information that can be obtained anytime and anywhere via a mobile device (cell phone, tablet, etc.). THOR is the enhanced replacement for the Consolidated Records Management Systems (CRMS). This system serves as the backbone to our new law enforcement intelligence database, THOR+ powered by CopLink X, and through our partnership with the Tennessee Department of Safety, is available to every sworn law enforcement officer in Tennessee free of charge.
The Criminal Intelligence Unit serves as the coordinator for the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN) in the State of Tennessee. FINCEN is an organization established by the U.S. Department of Treasury and is responsible for the collection, analysis, and dissemination of intelligence regarding financial crimes.
The Criminal Intelligence Unit is also the coordinator for the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) in the State of Tennessee. This organization promotes mutual assistance and cooperation between police agencies all over the world. All Tennessee INTERPOL inquiries are routed through TBI. The Criminal Intelligence Unit continues to work with the FBI's National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC). Law enforcement agencies within the state submit reports to TBI to be forwarded to the NCAVC. These reports are then uploaded to the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (VICAP) for analysis. TBI is the designated liaison between local agencies and the FBI for violent crime information.
The Criminal Intelligence Unit serves as the coordinator for the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NAMUS) for TBI. CIU verifies that all submittals are properly formatted and all necessary information is available for entry into the NAMUS database. CIU ensures all applicable TBI cases are entered into the database in compliance with state law. CIU also assists other federal, state, and local agencies with NAMUS inquiries and case support on cold-case homicide and missing persons investigations.
Law Enforcement/Military/Blue Alerts
The Criminal Intelligence Unit has a law enforcement/military threats coordinator. CIU is responsible for the collection and dissemination of intelligence related to threats made against law enforcement officers, law enforcement agencies, and service members/military installations. CIU also coordinates intelligence in partnership with various federal, state, and local agencies when dignitaries visit our state.
The Criminal Intelligence Unit is responsible for the issuance of Blue Alerts, which are activated only when a Tennessee law enforcement officer has been killed or seriously injured, and the subject is still at large. Intelligence Analysts serve on an on-call rotation to facilitate the activation of these alerts 24 hours a day. These programs utilize the media, National Weather Service radios, automated cell phone notifications, and the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) highway signs to provide information to the general public. All of these mediums along with social media are updated by various Intelligence Analysts assigned to the activation after the decision to activate the alert has been made.
El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC)
The Criminal Intelligence Unit serves as the Tennessee coordinator for the El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC). One of the primary goals of EPIC is to coordinate intelligence sharing between federal and non-federal agencies, associated with narcotics and fugitives.
School Violence Hotline
The TBI, with the assistance of the Department of Education, established a toll-free School Violence Hotline for the receipt of information relating to potential violent acts. The School Violence Hotline is answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Information received over the hotline related to potential violent acts that are in violation of state law is forwarded immediately to the appropriate law enforcement agency and designated school contact person.
Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) Liaison
Employees assigned to the Criminal Intelligence Unit serve as TBI’s Emergency Services Coordinators (ESC), which is TBI’s designated liaison to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA). This duty requires the attendance of monthly meetings held at TEMA. Additionally, this requires attendance at the annual TEMA ESC Conference, along with a substantial commitment to complete numerous training courses related to incident management. Also, per TBI policy and CALEA standards, ESCs are required to attend and participate in at least one designated training exercise per calendar year. ESCs are responsible for coordinating the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s roles during the activation of the Governor’s Escape Plan and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency’s (TEMA) Unusual Occurrence and/or Emergency Mobilization Plans. Finally, ESCs are charged with conducting an annual review of all TBI-TEMA-related policies and procedures, as well as our Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP).
TBI's Cybercrime & Digital Evidence Unit conducts specialized technical investigations and enhances the investigations of others through advanced capabilities. CDEU agents conduct proactive investigations into a range of online harms, including internet crimes against children, threats to life communicated online, cyber-enabled fraud, and computer intrusions. This unit is also tasked with deploying and gathering evidence from advanced technologies in support of TBI Special Agents and the Tennessee law enforcement community, including digital forensic analysis and communications and geolocation evidence-gathering. CDEU agents also support operations with mobile command, specialty vehicles, and radio communications assistance. In addition, these agents are also in charge of TBI's Electronics Detection K9.
To accomplish this mission, CDEU has four unique squads:
Cybercrime Investigations Squad ("Cyber Squad")
Responsible for investigating cybercrime violations against individuals, government, and businesses, as well as assisting other investigators in areas of specialization like online threat attribution, cryptocurrency, and online fraud
Internet Crimes Against Children Squad ("ICAC Squad")
Responsible for investigating possession, distribution, and manufacture of child sexual abuse material, minor sex trafficking, and child sexual abuse involving technology, public outreach, and training.
Digital Forensics Investigations ("Digital Forensics Squad")
Responsible for supporting all TBI divisions and external law enforcement agencies in conducting forensic investigations involving digital devices, providing analysis reports and expert courtroom testimony.
Operational Technologies Squad ("Tech Squad")
Responsible for supporting all TBI divisions with technical investigative technologies and special equipment, such as communications intelligence, intercept system, online threats to life, mobile device location, undercover technical equipment, radios, command post deployments, and specialized equipment.