The Tennessee Highway Patrol operates as a division of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security. Statewide law enforcement agencies began in Tennessee in 1926 with the State Police Force, which was charged with collecting taxes and fees from residents. This unpopular force was eliminated and replaced with the Tennessee Highway Patrol in 1929. Tennessee's Highway Patrol is noted as the first such agency to employ the use of helicopters in 1957.
Divisions of Tennessee Police
The Tennessee Highway Patrol maintains several specialized bureaus, including but not limited to: Commercial Vehicle Enforcement, Forfeitures and Seizures, Inspectional Services Bureau, Protective Services and Special Programs Bureau, Special Investigations and Special Operations.
The Commercial Vehicle Enforcement bureau inspects large trucks and operates commercial scales, inspects driver logs and patrols highways in search of violations of the state's laws on commercial trucking.
Forfeitures and Seizures takes legal ownership of narcotics, vehicles, money and real property when someone is caught driving drunk or violating other state laws. A notice of seizure is served to the owner with a forfeiture warrant, and then if a judge decides there is probable cause for a seizure the warrant is signed.
The Inspectional Services Bureau investigates complaints filed against the Department of Homeland Security employees and officers. This bureau also employs disciplinary actions after conducting an investigation.
Special Operations includes a Canine Unit and Aviation Unit, as well as an Explosive Ordinance Disposal team. The Protective Services and Special Programs Bureau manages oversight of the Tennessee Highway Patrol in order to ensure the safety of the state's employees, facilities, officials and citizens.
Requesting Tennessee Police Records
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation allows the general public to conduct a search without fingerprints on an individual without his/her knowledge. These police records and criminal history reports require a fee of $29, and only contain information for charges within Tennessee state lines.