Two TBI agents indicted on charges stemming from alleged illegal search

Two Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agents have been indicted by a Lake County grand jury on assault and kidnapping charges stemming from an allegedly illegal search of a Ridgely residence in 2015, according to the Dyersburg State Gazette.

The homeowners, Fred Austin Wortman Jr. and his wife, Marilyn, have also filed civil lawsuits over the search by TBI agents Mark Reynolds and Jeff Jackson.

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Advancing bill broadens mandate for reporting mental health commitments

Many persons involuntarily committed to mental health institutions currently are not reported to the TBI for inclusion in the database of those ineligible to buy a gun because of a quirk in Tennessee law that would be eliminated by pending legislation, reports the Johnson City Press.

As things stand now, mental health hospitals licensed under Title 33 of Tennessee Code Annotated are mandated to report involuntary commitments. But hospitals licensed under Title 68 – including general acute care hospitals that have a psychiatric wing – are not.

SB2365, introduced as a caption bill, has been amended in committee “to fix this loophole,” the article says. Sponsors are Sen. Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City) and Rep. Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) and the TBI is advocating the measure as amended.

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TBI reports campus crime down slightly overall; theft and DUI offenses up

Press release from Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has released to the public its annual crime study detailing the volume and nature of crime on the state’s college and university campuses. ‘Crime on Campus 2017’ compiles data submitted to TBI by the state’s colleges, universities, and law enforcement agencies through the Tennessee Incident Based Reporting System (TIBRS).

Among the report’s findings:

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Gummy bear bust goes sour with TBI testing

District Attorney General Jennings Jones is dropping all charges against more than 20 Rutherford County business owners who were arrested and saw their stores padlocked earlier this month in what officials called “Operation Candy Crush,” reports the Murfreesboro Post. Officers thought the businesses were selling gummy bears and other candies coated with marijuana-laced cannabis oil, but Jones says TBI testing of the products was “inconclusive.”

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Gwyn stepping down after 14 years as TBI director

Director Mark Gwyn announced on Thursday that he will step down from his leadership of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation on June 1. Gwyn had served as head of the TBI for 14 years.
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Appeals court finds $250 DUI fine — used in financing TBI — unconstitutional

An appeals court has ruled unconstitutional a state law that requires every person convicted of DUI through a blood or breath test pay a fee that that helps fund the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, reports the Associated Press.

Tuesday’s ruling by the Court of Criminal Appeals in Knoxville says the $250 fee violates due process and calls into question the trustworthiness of test results obtained by the bureau’s forensic scientists. State law requires the money to go to the bureau’s intoxicant testing fund.

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Legislative candidate contends TBI raid on residence was politically motivated

Jeremy Hayes, a candidate for the Republican nomination in House District 57, says a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation raid on a residence where he is selling was aimed at sabotaging his race against incumbent Republican Rep. Susan Lynn (R-Mount Juliet). The TBI says it was investigating allegations that Hayes lives in Davidson County but has voted in Wilson County, which is also home to House District 57.

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Comptroller questions TBI spending over budget, using reserves

Press release from state Comptroller’s Office:

The Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has released a special report examining several aspects of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s fiscal operations, including an analysis of TBI’s budget, the procurement of its Pilatus airplane, staffing, and grants and contracts.

The special report was initiated after Senator Bo Watson (R-Hixson) called for an examination of TBI’s budgeting and accounting practices. The General Assembly included language within the 2017 Appropriations Act requiring the review to be complete by January 31, 2018.

The Comptroller’s Office found TBI’s expenditures have exceeded its budgeted estimates since 2014, and TBI has relied on its various reserve funds for its continued operations. These accounts have been greatly diminished as TBI has used these funds. The Comptroller’s Office concluded that TBI and the Department of Finance and Administration should commit to improve communication during the budget process.

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TBI director ‘deeply concerned’ with surge in TN gun-related crime (up 25 percent, 2013 through 2016)

Press release from Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation released a report today (Thursday) detailing the nature and volume of reported firearms-related crime across the state over a four-year period.

The report, “Firearm Violence in Tennessee: 2013-2016,” utilizes data submitted by the state’s law enforcement agencies through the Tennessee Incident Based Reporting System (TIBRS). Among the report’s findings:

  • From 2013 to 2016, firearm-related criminal offenses increased by 24.8%.
  • The number of reported Murders involving a firearm increased by 54.7% in the four-year study period.
  • Aggravated Assaults accounted for the largest portion of reported firearms-related crime, and increased by 30.5% from 2013 to 2016.
  • Males (85.8%) were nine times more likely to engage in firearm-related criminal offenses than Females (8.8%).

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Three charged with election law violations in Bluff City

News release from Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

JOHNSON CITY – An investigation by Special Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has resulted in three Bluff City residents being charged with violating an election law.

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