Tennessee’s top crimefighter David Rausch isn’t done improving the TBI

Director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation David Rauscha former police chief of Knoxville, has just been reappointed by the governor. Bill Lee in this position at a time when he successfully increased the staff and budget of the state’s main criminal investigative agency.

“I’m not done,” he said in a phone interview Wednesday. “We have done some good things and there is still a lot to do.”

For example, 26 new officers will be added to help with investigations next Friday. They will have undergone training for the position.

“It will be a huge help,” Rausch said. Overworked staff will be able to lead more normal lives, including time to relax, he said.

Rausch’s second term began on Friday and will last six years. He was appointed by the former governor. Bill Haslam in 2018 when the former director resigned. Rausch is a U.S. Army veteran with more than three decades of law enforcement experience. He served 25 years with the Knoxville Police Department and served as Chief of Police for seven years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in the administration of justice from the University of Louisville.

He was chosen over two other candidates whose names were sent to Lee by the TBI Nominating Commission. In addition to Rausch, the commission named Edward Reynoldschief of police at Southern University in Shreveport, Louisiana, and Darrel Guadnolachief of support serves with the Wheat Ridge Police Department in Colorado, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported.

Asked by the nominating committee, Rausch said authorized personnel had grown from 540 to 710 during his tenure and the agency’s budget had grown from $75 million to just over $123 million in during the new fiscal year which began on Friday.

“David is a committed public servant who has worked tirelessly to keep Tennessee communities safe,” Lee said in a statement. “I appreciate his leadership and trust that he will continue to serve and protect the people of Tennessee with integrity.”

Among Rausch’s plans is the creation of a cybercrime investigation unit to tackle the more technical aspects of crime. He said the agency was doing it piecemeal and would work to have a new unit in about a year. He said it would take just as long with the required training of investigators.

The agency says on its website that more special agents/criminal investigators will be hired with a timeline beginning July 28. They are sworn law enforcement officers with the authority to investigate and enforce state and federal criminal laws. A minimum requirement is a bachelor’s degree from an institution of higher learning. For more information, see tbijobs.com.

Compensation is not listed, but Rausch said it needed to be improved to make the agency more competitive in selecting investigators.

“We are not competitive. The officers (elsewhere) refuse us, he said.

When Rausch first joined the state, 27 positions were added to investigate Medicaid fraud, which involved the fraudulent use and abuse of the system as well as elder abuse. He said this job has been a bit difficult during COVID-19 and is just starting to have an impact in holding people accountable for their actions.

Rausch also addressed the statewide Blue Alerts, which were sent out via mobile devices twice in the past week in an attempt to track down the men who shot an officer. He said the system is a bit tricky because it’s the same system for an Amber Alert to release information to the public to help find suspects, often involving child abductions, and the alert goes through other emergency programs, such as Tennessee Emergency Management. Agency.

“We are working through this. What we don’t want is people stopping him. Weather alerts come out the same way. We don’t want people to be in danger because of an inconvenience,” he said.

On another subject, Knoxville’s new police chief Paul Noel, Rausch said the two did not meet but had a text exchange. He added that he was looking forward to meeting him and talking.

Rausch said the mayor of Knoxville Indya Kincannon talked to him about the leader selection “process”, but otherwise he was not part of it.

MORE FUNDS FOR U.S. DELAYED JUSTICES: US Sense. Bill HagertyR-Tennessee, and Mark WarnerD-Virginia, attempted to provide additional funding to protect U.S. Supreme Court justices and their families before Congress adjourned on June 24, but the effort failed to pass the House after passed by the Senate by unanimous consent.

The two senators wrote to U.S. House leaders on June 23 urging the House to pass immediately and send the bill to the president’s office before the summer recess.

“There is no doubt that the Supreme Court, its justices, their families and court workers are under unprecedented threat, as evidenced by the recent high-profile threats against the judiciary. (Brett) Kavanaugh and Justice (Sonia) Sotomayor. These threats could very well become more acute in the coming weeks as the Court completes its mandate. There is no doubt that protecting the Court against these threats will require additional and unexpected resources in fiscal year 2022 (FY22),” the senators wrote.

The previous week, Congress passed and the President Joe Biden signed legislation to expand the scope of authorized Supreme Court police protection to include immediate family members of justices. The Hagerty-Warner bill would provide additional funding to the U.S. Marshals Service and the U.S. Supreme Court “to cover increased and unexpected security costs for the remainder of fiscal year 2022 (FY22). If funding is not immediately provided, the Court and Marshals Service will be forced to transfer funds from other functions and criminal entities,” the two senators said.

Roll Call, a newspaper and website in Washington, DC, reported that an amendment related to the COVID-19 pandemic dealing with vaccine and insulin prices was added to the emergency security spending bill on June 24, sending it back to the Senate, which then adjourned.

Hagerty Spokesperson Judd Deere provided a statement in response to the development that read, “This is a dangerous and appalling breach of basic congressional duties by House Democrats. They rejected a simple, uncontroversial, bipartisan, and much-needed funding bill for the safety of the nine Supreme Court justices and their families and the law enforcement officers who protect them. Senator Hagerty is deeply concerned about the ramifications and cannot believe the President has decided to withhold funding that is clearly and urgently needed to protect the Supreme Court, its justices, their families, court workers and the Supreme Court building.

HOW THEY VOTED: The two Republican senators from Tennessee voted against bipartisan gun control legislation on June 23, which was aimed at preventing dangerous people from having guns. The vote was 65-33, with two Republicans absent. In statements, Hagerty and Sen. Marsha Blackburn said the bill violates the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms.

The House gave final passage on June 24 in a vote of 234 to 193, with U.S. Representatives. Tim Burchet of Knoxville, Chuck Fleischman of Ooltewah and Diana Harshbarger of Kingsport voting no.

The legislation includes funds for school safety, mental health, state crisis intervention programs and incentives for states to include minors’ records in a national criminal background check system.

The bill was brokered by a bipartisan group of senators, with 15 Republicans joining 50 Democrats in passing it, following mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas.

Burchett said in his June newsletter released Friday that several gun control bills slated for a vote have failed to address the root causes of gun violence. “Instead, they tightened regulations on law-abiding citizens and sent cash rewards to blue states with strict gun control laws,” he said.

THE BOOK IS OUT: Ancient Knoxvillian Bo Roberts‘, ‘Forever Young,’ his detailed account of the 1982 World’s Fair, has been published, and he will give lectures and book signings in Knoxville and Sevier County this month. Roberts served as president of the World’s Fair and, as a young adult, also served as editor, chief of staff to the governor, and vice president of the university.

He will speak at 5 p.m. July 26 at the AJ King Sevier County Library in Sevierville and at 7 p.m. July 28 at the East Tennessee History Center. He said he was working on other events in Knoxville and Nashville, where he now lives. He is Managing Partner/Owner of Roberts Strategies LLC

REGISTRATION AND VOTING INFORMATION: Tuesday (July 5) is the deadline to register to vote for the August 4 county general election and the state and federal primaries.

Early voting begins July 15 and ends July 30. This period will include three Saturdays, when there are normally two, Knox County Elections Administrator Chris Davis said.

Saturday voting times will also be different, he said. Polling stations will open at 10 a.m. and close at 3 p.m. The time was based on data on when people voted, he said. It will also allow workers to get off at 3 p.m. and give them a slightly longer weekend, Davis added.

“It’s a long ballot. It will take a few minutes,” he said. Knox County voters will decide 58 to 61 races depending on where the voters live. It also includes eight-year retention runs for six state appellate justices and five Supreme Court justices. For more information, visit knoxcounty.org/election.

Georgiana Vines is a retired associate editor of News Sentinel. She can be contacted at [email protected]