TBI Director David Rausch has announced that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation will no longer shield from the public the outcomes of internal investigations into possible misconduct by its agents.
Previously, if a member of the public complained about an agent’s actions, the department would conduct an investigation, but claimed that those investigations were confidential under the public records law exemption that makes all TBI investigation documents confidential.
“What I am doing is on our internal complaints that come from the public, we will make those an administrative investigation. And administrative investigations, when they are concluded, are open to public review,” announced Rausch, who became head of the TBI in June.
The change in policy came after NewsChannel5 reporter Phil Williams requested to see internal affairs investigations, public complaints and reprimands or disciplinary actions in TBI agent files.
The TBI declined the request, saying that investigative files were confidential under the law, including internal investigations into agent actions based on a complaint from a citizen.
Rausch said the new policy would apply to complaints and investigations going forward, but not to previous internal affairs investigations.
See the NewsChannel5 report here: “NC5 Investigates: TBI complaints, investigations shrouded in secrecy”