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Our History

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation was born as a result of a highly-publicized murder in Greene County in December of 1949. The heinous crime aroused the emotions of citizens throughout the region. In an address to the Tennessee Press Association in January of 1951, John M. Jones, Sr., publisher of the Greeneville Sun, called for the creation of an unbiased state agency to assist local law enforcement in the investigation of serious crimes.

On March 14, 1951, Governor Gordon Browning signed a bill into law establishing the Tennessee Bureau of Criminal Identification (TBCI) as the "plainclothes" division of the Department of Safety. On March 27, 1980, following a series of legislative hearings, the organization was re-established as an independent agency and renamed the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI).

Since that time, the Bureau has grown significantly, and continues to meet the demands of providing up-to-date investigative, forensic science, and support to Tennessee’s entire criminal justice system. The TBI takes pride in the fact that it has evolved over the years into a respected law enforcement organization with dedicated, professional employees.

Former Directors

Joe Boyd Williams

Joe Boyd Williams
1951-1953

Arzo Carson

Arzo Carson
1979-1990

W.E. Bud Hopton

W.E. "Bud" Hopton
1955-1971

John Carney, Jr.

John Carney, Jr.
1990-1992

William Sheets

William Sheets
1972-1975

Larry Wallace

Larry Wallace
1992-2003

105th Legislative Composite

Robert Goodwin
1975-1979

Mark_Gwyn

Mark Gwyn
2004-Present