An internal investigation into procedural violations at the Johnson City jail has turned into a possible criminal investigation.
The TBI has been called in to look at activities involving the jail's inmate work crew program.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is now looking into possible criminal activity involving the Johnson City jail. The allegations surfaced during an internal investigation of the jail which started in November.
The jail's administrator Sam Garland was placed on administrative leave in November following an internal investigation into procedural violations; we're told Garland has since retired.
However, Chief Mark Sirois tells us that "former supervisor Sam Garland is not the focus of the investigation." Chief Sirois could not go into detail about the focus of investigation.
He did tell us the jail staff and other Johnson City police officers are also not the center of the investigation.
Sirois said he could only say one part of the investigation focuses on people involved with the jail's work crew program, which uses inmates to perform janitorial and other minor work on city property and select other sites around Johnson City.
The chief would not elaborate on the nature of the possible criminal charges. "I want to leave it open-ended for the TBI," he explained. "I don't want to hinder where they are going with their investigation."
Sirois says the charges could be considered felonies. We're told the TBI was notified late last month and agents met in person with department personnel on Wednesday.
The chief told us the investigation is just beginning and there is no indication of how long it could take to complete.