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The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) is Tennessee's primary criminal investigative agency. In that role, the Bureau is responsible for providing support to local law enforcement agencies in joint investigations and investigate crimes at the request of the local District Attorneys General for each of the state’s 31 Judicial Districts.  The TBI has original jurisdiction over crimes related to drugs, fugitives, public corruption, official misconduct, organized crime, illegal gambling, Medicaid provider fraud, patient abuse, social security administration fraud, cyber crime, domestic terrorism and employees or prospective employees of the bureau of the Department of Safety. The six major divisions of the TBI are the Criminal Investigation Division, the Drug Investigation Division, the Forensic Services Division, the Information Systems Division, the Administrative Services Division and the Training Division.

The TBI is accountable to the District Attorneys General and to the Judiciary for its performance of services and to the Executive and Legislative branches for support functions. TBI has been designated to coordinate the gathering, analysis, and dissemination of state and local criminal justice data to the Governor, General Assembly, and all law enforcement agencies. TBI also maintains the statewide computer network for criminal justice information and conducts classes for users of the network. 

At the request of the Governor, the Attorney General and Reporter, any member of the Board of Parole, the Commissioner of Correction, or a District Attorneys General, the TBI is authorized to conduct investigations into allegations of fraud, corruption, or dishonesty involving granting, revocation or denial of parole, release classification status, or executive clemency. When requested to investigate, the TBI is authorized to look at whether the recipient of executive clemency has been or is presently abiding by the terms and conditions imposed on the granting of executive clemency.

The Court of Judiciary can ask TBI to conduct investigations into any allegation of improper conduct of judicial officials. The Governor and/or the Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice requests TBI to conduct background investigations on individuals considered by the Governor for appointment to positions of trust and responsibility. The TBI also opens investigations into the removal of officers, trust, unlawful restraint of trade and discrimination, violations of the Tennessee Security Act of 1980, or violations of the Consumer Protection Act of 1977 when the Attorney General and Reporter requests.

With original jurisdiction in illegal drug violations, the TBI investigates mid to high level offenders. The TBI participates in the Appalachia High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA). This is a federally funded initiative involving federal, state and local law enforcement agencies throughout Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia. HIDTA conducts intensive investigations focused on poly-drug activities in certain designated counties throughout East and Upper East Tennessee. The TBI is also the granting agency for the federally funded Methamphetamine Task Force located in Chattanooga, TN. As Program Manager for the Governor’s Task Force on Marijuana Eradication, the TBI is also works to stop the growing and harvesting of marijuana.

The TBI is responsible for maintaining up-to-date forensic laboratories to assist all law enforcement agencies in the processing and analyzing of criminal evidence.