Tag Archives: TBI

Athens workplace killer had TN handgun permit

ATHENS, Tenn. (AP) — A man who fatally shot two supervisors and then killed himself at an electrical components plant in eastern Tennessee had a state-issued permit to carry handguns in public, law enforcement officials said Friday.

Ricky Swafford, who had worked at the Thomas & Betts plant a more than 15 years, walked out of a meeting with the supervisors and returned with a pistol, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Susan Niland said. Swafford then shot supervisors Sandra Cooley and James Zotter before apparently turning the gun on himself in a restroom, she said.

“There are no appearances at this point that this was anything that was planned,” Niland said. “He did have a meeting with his supervisors, and it was during that meeting that he apparently experienced some agitation.”

Under a state law enacted in 2013, workers with carry permits are allowed to store firearms in vehicles parked at work regardless of their employers’ wishes. Thomas & Betts manager Pat Joyce said the company has an employee policy concerning firearms, but he declined to elaborate. Continue reading

Jackson man charged with murder of TBI agent

News release from TBI
JACKSON – Special Agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have arrested and charged a Jackson man in connection to the shooting death Tuesday afternoon of a TBI Special Agent during the course of an ongoing drug investigation.

Preliminary information indicates Special Agent De’Greaun Frazier was one of several agents working alongside the Metropolitan Narcotics Task Force during a controlled buy Tuesday around 2:00 PM in a vehicle in the area of Brianfield Cove. During the exchange, a subject in the backseat of the car, identified as Brenden Tyler Burns, whom the Agent met for the purposes of purchasing illicit drugs, produced a firearm in an attempt to rob the Agent and an informant sitting in the front seat. During the exchange, Burns fired at least once, striking Agent Frazier, who subsequently died at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital.

Shortly after the shooting, law enforcement officers apprehended Burns (DOB 3-10-93) a short distance away in the area of Tinker Hill Cove. This morning, TBI Agents charged him with one count of Murder in the Perpetration of Attempted Aggravated Robbery. He is currently being held in the Madison County Jail without bond.

TBI agent shot to death in Jackson

JACKSON, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee Bureau of Investigation special agent was shot to death Tuesday during an undercover drug investigation in West Tennessee, the agency said.

Special Agent De’Greaun Frazier, 35, was working with other agents and narcotics officers on a drug investigation when he met a person for a controlled buy in a car in Jackson, TBI spokesman Josh DeVine said in a news release.

The person that Frazier met Tuesday afternoon pulled out a firearm in an apparent robbery attempt and fired at least once, hitting the agent, TBI Director Mark Gwyn said.

Frazier died later at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital.

He was the first agent in TBI history to die in the line of duty.
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Rep. Mitchell: TBI should further investigate Jane Doe#24

News release from House Democratic Caucus
NASHVILLE—Rep. Bo Mitchell (D-Nashville) today announced that he is filing legislation to repeal the so-called “Jeremy’s law”. (Pub. Ch. 848).

The new law was supposedly designed to prevent frivolous lawsuits, but some feel that it provides a chilling effect that discourages sexual abuse claims.

“Under this new law, should you sue the state and a state employee and lose, you could be forced to pay their attorney’s fees”, Rep. Mitchell said. “Not all lawsuits are successful, but that doesn’t mean that they are frivolous.”

Rep. Mitchell said that the report released this week on Representative Jeremy Durham is a perfect example of how this new law could be used.

“If you look at the report, it’s clear that ‘Jane Doe 24’ is retaliated against by an unjust firing and a refusal to re-hire her. (page 30, Report of the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office for the Article II, 12 AD Hoc Select Committee for the Tennessee Hose of Representatives). Before she could take legal action, she would have to face the possibility that if she sued and lost, she could have to pay a lot of out-of-pocket money.”

Rep. Mitchell said he is asking the TBI to investigate her case and see if any laws were broken in her termination… “That’s sad”, Mitchell added. “There needs to be a price paid for inaction of leadership for not doing something for 3 years.

Mark Gwyn given new term as TBI director

News release from the governor’s office
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced the reappointment of Mark Gwyn as director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI).

Gwyn, 53, has led Tennessee’s lead investigative law enforcement agency for 12 years. Under his leadership, the TBI has expanded its resources and embraced technology to enhance the agency’s investigating strengths. Gwyn oversaw the creation of a Technical Services Unit that is responsible for high-tech surveillance methods, computer forensics, and investigating internet crimes against children; helped establish the nationally recognized Tennessee Fusion Center which services as a central hub of information sharing between local, state, and federal law enforcement partners; and spearheaded the state’s efforts to combat human trafficking, including the creation of a special unit to investigate cases and train law enforcement officers across the state. Continue reading

TN crime down overall in 2015; murders and rapes up

News release from Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
NASHVILLE – Today, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation released its 2015 ‘Crime in Tennessee’ report, revealing an overall decrease in reported instances of crime in the most recent reporting year.

The annual study compiles data reported from each law enforcement agency in the state through the Tennessee Incident Based Reporting System (TIBRS). The TBI’s sophisticated crime reporting system, in place since 1997, provides an updated and comprehensive picture of the successes and challenges facing communities across Tennessee.

Among the findings in the 2015 report:

· The total number of reported Group A incidents decreased by 2.1% year-to-year.

· Reported homicides increased by 9.4%.

· The number of Forcible Rape cases reported by law enforcement agencies increased by 2.4%.

· The number of Drug/Narcotic, Prostitution, and Burglary offenses all decreased in 2015’s study.

· Reported methamphetamine offenses increased from 4,362 in 2014 to 6,276 in 2015.

· Simple Assault accounted for 67.3% of all reported Domestic Violence offenses.

“We’re extremely thankful for our dedicated law enforcement partners,” said TBI Director Mark Gwyn. “Together, they helped us compile a thorough snapshot of crime in Tennessee. We now hope every department takes this information and works to further address the key crime issues facing their communities and our state.”

DISCLAIMER: The TBI strongly discourages the ranking and comparison of jurisdictions and their crime rates by the data in the 2015 report. Demographic, socio-economic, and other factors out of the control of law enforcement contribute to the nature of the crimes committed. Crime varies from place to place and ranking the agencies solely on numbers would neither be fair to the agencies nor their communities.

The full report is available for review HERE.

Committee carving knives at work on police shootings bill

A bill requiring that the TBI investigate all fatal shootings by law enforcement officers and public disclosure of the investigation results has been watered down substantially as it moved through legislative committees, reports Richard Locker.

Under current law, TBI investigates officer-involved shootings only when requested by district attorneys. And by law, all TBI investigative records — including those of officer-involved shootings — remain permanently confidential, even after the investigations are closed.

But the issue has spurred statewide interest as residents demand more transparency when people are critically injured or killed by law enforcement officers.

…The bill (HB2091) is moving along different paths in the House and Senate — but both have been amended in committees to remove the mandate for TBI probes of all officer-involved shootings statewide. Rep. G.A. Hardaway, D-Memphis, the House sponsor, said Tuesday that that provision may have been too ambitious of a goal to accomplish this year, with the Legislature headed to adjournment by the end of the month, and will have to be delayed until next year.

…The current Senate version of the bill, sponsored by Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, says that after TBI completes its investigation and turns its report over to prosecutors, the district attorney “may disclose the investigative records to the public upon agreement with the chief law enforcement officer of each agency involved in the shooting.”

The current version of the House bill has removed all references to the TBI and public disclosure, leaving only a provision that increases the death benefit paid by the state to the family of a law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty from the current $25,000 to $100,000. (That provision is part of the Senate bill too.) Hardaway said that when the House Criminal Justice Committee considers the bill Wednesday, there likely will be efforts to reinsert a provision requiring public release of the results when the TBI does investigate an officer-involved shooting, with redaction of sensitive information to protect sources and other investigations.

That could be immediately after TBI turns over its report to the district attorney, or 30 days later, he said.

 

TBI reports overall campus crime declined in 2015; rape increased

News release from TBI
NASHVILLE – Today, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation released to the public its 2015 ‘Crime on Campus’ report. The annual study compiles crime data submitted to TBI by the state’s colleges and universities through the Tennessee Incident Based Reporting System (TIBRS). Among the report’s findings:

· Crime reported by Tennessee colleges and universities decreased by 7.0% from 2014 to 2015.

· 29% of all 2015 offenses reported were categorized as Larceny/Theft.

· Assault Offenses increased slightly, by 1.4%, between 2014 and 2015.

· The overall category of Sex Offenses-Forcible increased by 26.6% in 2015, which includes an increase in the number of reported rapes from 51 in 2014 to 56 in 2015.

As always, the TBI strongly discourages the comparison of one institution’s statistics to another. The factors impacting crime vary from community to community and rudimentary comparisons will most likely result in inaccurate and generalized conclusions of the relative safety of one campus over another.

The full ‘Crime on Campus’ report, along with similar studies dating back to 2001, is available online for review at http://tn.gov/tbi/article/recent-publications.

Mayor indicted for vote buying in Hancock County

News release from Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
JOHNSON CITY – Special Agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have obtained indictments for an elected official and an associate in an ongoing vote buying investigation.

At the request of former 3rd District Attorney General Berkeley Bell, TBI Special Agents began investigating Wayland Dean Rhea and Lowell Ray King on July 30, 2014. During the course of the investigation, Agents developed information that earlier in 2014, Rhea (the elected mayor of Sneedville) and King paid or offered to pay money to a voter to induce support for a candidate in a county-wide election.

Today, the Hancock County Grand Jury returned indictments, charging Rhea, 67, of Sneedville and King, 66, of Sneedville, with two counts each of Voter Bribery. Both men subsequently turned themselves in to authorities at the Hancock County Jail, where each was booked on $20,000 bond.

Five indicted for abusing inmates at Morgan County jail

News release from TBI
COOKEVILLE – In two separate cases, Special Agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have obtained indictments for a total of five individuals in connection to allegations of the mistreatment of inmates in the Morgan County Jail.

In the first case, which began November 24, 2015 at the request of 9th District Attorney General Russell Johnson, TBI Agents investigated an allegation of Official Misconduct by correction officers in the Morgan County Jail. The allegation, brought by an inmate’s family, accused officers of encouraging the assault of an inmate on November 21, 2015 in the presence of correction officers, who were also accused of not intervening in the incident.
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