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FERRIER FILES: TBI Director Mark Gwyn retires

(Fox 17 News)

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn was just 18 months into his term before he abruptly said he was retiring effective June 1.

Director Gwyn, 53, sent a memo to his staff on Wednesday to make the announcement.

“I’ve been in law enforcement for over 30 years and have lovingly served as director for 14 years, however, the time has come for me to retire," Gwyn wrote. "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.”

The agency is the only independent branch of state government and enjoys operating in legal secrecy, but in the last 12 months the TBI has made a rare appearance on the public stage.

An embarrassing Holly Bobo murder trial had the TBI admitting to huge mistakes. Even the trial itself pitted a former TBI agent's theory against the the current TBI theory.

Then last month the state comptroller audited the TBI, and the agency criticized for sloppy fiscal policy like using reserve money to make budget for the last four years.

The audit also said the flight log for Director Gwyn's plane was incomplete and inaccurate.

Senator Bo Watson called for the audit. He said he hopes the next TBI director has strong budget skills.

“I was surprised that we had allowed them to get into the position they were in," Watson said. "We should have engaged them sooner in this conversation. The TBI is great at investigating. We need to get them there with budgeting."

Mark Gwyn was making $188,000 annually. His retirement took the district attorney’s conference by surprise.

“That is very surprising," said Matt Stowe, District Attorney for the 24th Judicial District. "Director Gwyn and I had words before. That is common knowledge. But I will say he always cared about his agents in the field doing quality work, and I respect that. I hope new leadership will go out and aggressively seek funding so the TBI and the District attorneys can get what is necessary for this growing opioid and fentanyl crisis."

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