TBI Director Mark Gwyn Discusses Problems Facing Agency

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - UPDATE 2/14/2018: TBI Director Mark Gwyn told the Governor last week he was retiring in June, but Wednesday he addressed some of the top issues faced by the agency he leads.

“I have been contemplating retirement for 3 or 4 years,” says Gwyn. And that's after leading the state's top investigative agency for 14-years.

Gwyn says no issue like a recent critical audit about TBI budgeting is driving him out, but he shot back that the story goes untold of his underfunded agency.

“We have taken drastic cuts. I began to generate revenue at TBI which had not been done before, and because of that, is the only reason we have not had massive layoffs,” says Gwyn.

Gwyn generated revenue with fees for things like DUI blood testing, which last week was ruled unconstitutional by a state appeals court, but he emphasized that layoffs would mean delaying critical criminal testing and statewide investigations.

“That will be the biggest challenge for the new director. That is, make sure the staffing gets to the level it should be and the funding gets to the level it should,” says Gwyn.

While avoiding layoffs, the TBI director has been at the forefront of sounding early alarms about opioid abuse and the recreational derivatives that can leave you dead in an instant, but beyond the business of Tennessee, there was word about what Gywn will be doing next.

Hunting, fishing and golfing will be on the agenda after his June 1st retirement date.

Governor Bill Haslam will select a new director from a slate of three candidates given to him by a nominating commission that's already in place.

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(ORIGINAL STORY 2/8/2018)

Governor Bill Haslam will soon be looking for a new TBI Director. The longtime head of the state's investigative agency announced Thursday he's retiring on June 1st.

The Governor appoints the director of the TBI, but there has not been a new one since 2004.

Whether it be on a crime scene, a news conference warning about drug dangers, or hoping for a bigger budget, Mark Gwyn has led the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for 14 years.

State lawmaker and former prosecutor William Lamberth knows the director well, and says he tried talk him out of retiring.

“He's really shepherded the department through some tough times,” says Rep. Lamberth, “… and a few days ago we talked that it was time for him to retire. End of his career, at least this portion of it.”

In a statement to all TBI employees, Gwyn said "I believe I have done all that I can to improve our resources, training and equipment," but a critical audit of TBI budgeting and a recent grilling about it in a legislative committee may have taken a toll on the director.

“I will say about the audit and what we saw in the Criminal Justice Committee is that we really saw that as a state we have not stepped up well enough and fully funded TBI mission,” says Rep. Lamberth.

Rep. Lamberth says Gwyn set the standard for what a TBI Director should be, doing what he could with the funding from state lawmakers.

The Governor will appoint the new TBI Director from a list of three candidates submitted to him by a nominating commission.

Gwyn sent the following memo to TBI staff Thursday morning:

“I’ve been in law enforcement for over 30 years and have lovingly served as your Director for 14 years, however, the time has come for me to retire. I have prayed and thought about this decision for some time now and I believe this is the right time for me and for the Bureau.

During my tenure, I believe I have done all that I can do to improve our resources, training and equipment for the Bureau family and along with your hard work, TBI has become the best state law enforcement agency in this state and this country.  We have come a very long way and I am honored to have served in this capacity for so long. I hope I have left in part, a legacy that reflects the integrity, leadership and compassion that touches every facet of this agency. It was my goal to leave the Bureau better than it was when it was given to me.

I will remain as TBI Director until June 1, 2018. During that time, the selection process will begin for my successor. Please continue your dedication and remain diligent to succeed in our mission of “That Guilt Shall Not Escape, Nor Innocence Suffer.”

Mark Gwyn, TBI Director

Gov. Bill Haslam released the following statement:

“Mark has dedicated his career to law enforcement and the state of Tennessee is safer because of his service. The TBI has become a more proactive agency under his 14 years of leadership. I am especially grateful for Mark’s commitment to lead the fight against human trafficking and gang violence in our state. I wish him all the best in his retirement.”

 


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