Vernon Keenan, Director, Georgia Bureau of Investigation
On January 18, 2011, Governor Nathan Deal re-appointed Vernon M. Keenan as Director of the Georgia
Bureau of Investigation (GBI). During Keenan’s career, he has been promoted to every rank in the GBI’s
Investigative Division, and then moved even farther up the chain of command to assistant director and
now continues as director.
As GBI Director, Vernon Keenan is the leader of a state criminal investigative agency with 852 employees
and a FY17 budget of $95.9 million. The GBI is comprised of three divisions: the State Crime
Laboratory, the Georgia Crime Information Center and the Investigative Division.
Keenan began his career in law enforcement as a police officer with the Dekalb County Georgia Police
Department (November 1972 – June 1973). In July 1973 he became a GBI Special Agent assigned to
Northwest Georgia. In February 1981, Keenan was promoted to Commander of the State Auto Theft
Squad and in August 1982, he was promoted to Special Agent in Charge of Northwest GA.
Keenan was promoted to Inspector in March of 1988 and assigned to supervise the seven regional offices
in north Georgia as well as several specialized work units. As Inspector, he served in the law enforcement
command center at the 1988 Democratic Convention and was responsible for planning and implementing
the state’s law enforcement response to three separate white supremacist demonstrations in
Atlanta, each involving in excess of 1,000 law enforcement and National Guard officials. He was also
agency manager for the GBI's participation in planning security for the 1996 Olympic Games. In this
capacity, he was dispatched as a law enforcement observer to the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona,
Spain and was a member of the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange Program (GILEE) to
Israel in March 1993.
In June of 1993, Keenan was promoted to Deputy Director and placed in command of the Investigative
Division. He also was one of several officials in charge of
the State Law Enforcement Command Center during the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
After his promotion to GBI Director, Keenan served as a member of the State Homeland Security Central
Command responsible for public safety, facilitation of law enforcement and coordination of state
personnel during the G-8 Summit at Sea Island, Georgia (June 8 – 10, 2004).
Keenan has participated in professional exchange programs in Israel, China, Spain, Germany, Turkey,
the Republic of Georgia and the United Kingdom. He is a guest lecturer on law enforcement issues at the
FBI National Academy and throughout the United States. He serves as a member of the International
Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Executive Committee, Investigation Operations Committee and the
Dangerous Drugs and Narcotics Committee. Keenan is Chairman of the Criminal Intelligence
Coordinating Council (CICC).
Vernon Keenan received his Bachelor of Science Degree from Valdosta State College in 1972. In
addition, he is a graduate of the 117th Session of the FBI National Academy (May, 1979 – June, 1979). In
1997, Keenan graduated from the Georgia Chiefs of Police Command College with a Master's Degree in
Public Administration from Columbus State University.
Vernon Keenan has received the following awards: A Hero of Open Government Award (July 2005)
Atlanta Journal-Constitution; CIT Leadership Award (February 2006) Georgia Chapter of the National
Alliance on Mental Illness; 2008 Outstanding Georgia Police Chief of the Year – Georgia Association of
Chiefs of Police.
Vernon Keenan is an Eagle Scout. He has been married since 1972 to Joan Thomas Keenan from St.
Mary’s, Georgia. They live in Cherokee County and have two sons, Mack and Jackson.