Federal law enforcement experts bring state-of-the-art equipment to search downtown detention center

Nashville-Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall says that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and U.S. Customs Border Protection (CBP) sent an advance team in February and a follow-up team last week to sweep the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) Downtown Detention Center (DDC). More than 30 of the nation’s top law enforcement experts traveled to Nashville to assist in an exhaustive search of the facility and concluded their work late last week.

“The actions of Alex Friedmann put the lives of our staff, inmates, and community at risk,” Hall said. “I will do everything possible to ensure this facility is a safe and secure place for both staff and inmates. The sophistication of the FBI’s tools and the invaluable work performed by both them and the CBP cannot be overstated. We are grateful for these partnerships.”

Officials of the FBI Memphis Field Office – Nashville Resident Agency led the effort to bring this dedicated team of law enforcement professionals together and considered the crucial work performed extremely productive.

“Personnel from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Laboratory Division and Hazardous Devices School participated in a detailed search of the new Davidson County Downtown Detention Center. The FBI brought significant technology, expertise, and other resources into the search to help ensure all possible safety threats present in the jail were detected,” said Special Agent-in-Charge M.A. Myers of the FBI’s Memphis Field Office. “The FBI is grateful for the relationship it shares with the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office, the Metro Nashville Police Department, and Customs and Border Protection’s New Orleans Sector, in addition to all other law enforcement agencies throughout Tennessee, which make it possible for us to continue to protect the safety of our communities.”

Friedmann, initially, posted bond after a January 4 arrest at the DDC on attempted burglary, evidence tampering, and possession of burglary tools. He was arrested a second time February 18 for felony vandalism and held on a $2.5 million bond.

Hall, in a February 19 news conference, described Friedmann’s actions: “Over many months, Friedmann had developed and implemented an extremely deliberate and, in my opinion, evil plan. Understand this plan went far beyond vandalism. Ultimately, it included planting various tools, weapons, and security equipment throughout this facility – all designed to assist in a massive escape plan. What disturbs me most is this was not just about an escape – but also about loss of life.”

As the investigation continues, items recovered in this most recent search were turned over to the Metro Police Department. Friedman remains incarcerated on state charges and is being housed at the Tennessee Department of Correction.

Hall said his agency plans to begin DDC operations next month. In light of the COVID-19 public health emergency, there will be no public open house.