Retiring TBI Director Mark Gwyn outlined some of what his successor will face Monday in a hearing before state lawmakers. While critical of TBI cuts and underfunding in the past, the retiring director was more reflective before a house committee.
“There has only been one thing I have tried to do and that is protect the citizens of this state,” said Gwyn.
Gwyn has been outspoken in his criticism of TBI cuts or just not getting enough funding, but not on this, in one of his last legislative hearings.
“I think everybody is fully aware of the cuts TBI has taken over the years, but we are in the business of moving on, we have to answer the call,” said Gwyn.
During the house hearing, Gwyn spoke of the call the next director must answer. The opioid crisis remains target number one and Gwyn is convinced a rapid response team of agents into critical areas like rural West Tennessee will help law enforcement cut into the dangerous opiate derivates.
“This is a new process that we could effectively apply to various regions of the state and make a difference,” said Gwyn.
Gwyn did get questions about a TBI plane purchased last year, and a backlog in forensics for things like processing rape kits, but for the most part lawmakers during and after praised the director.
Gwyn offered words that might serve as advice for his successor.
“Someone told the first day I was sworn in as director, you are going to have some thick skin. That is just part of it. And for 14 years now, I have tried to have some thick skin,” laughed Gwyn.
Gwyn has said he plans on retiring June 1st.