Gov. Lee announces partnership to address law enforcement use of force policies across state agencies

Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Gov. Bill Lee announced a partnership with seven state law enforcement agencies to enhance policies, improve information sharing and increase officer training on Thursday.

“The intent of this partnership is the desire to ensure law enforcement are consistently reflecting the values of the communities they serve,” Lee said. “Tragic, preventable events across the nation have challenged us all to confront the difference between law enforcement and police brutality and also challenged us to examine troubling, inconsistent citizen experiences with law enforcement.

“I am proud of our law enforcement agencies for spearheading efforts to ensure Tennesseans’ rights, dignity and humanity be at the forefront of policing.”

The Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, the Tennessee Highway Patrol, The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, Tennessee Sheriffs’ Association and the Peace Officer Standards & Training Commission will review their use of force and duty to intervene policies as well as increase testing and the sharing of officer’s information.

Review of Use of Force and Duty to Intervene Policies

Law enforcement agencies across the state will review and update Use of Force and Duty to Intervene policies over the next 60 days.

  • Use of Force policies should be reviewed and updated to ensure choke holds are not used as a restraining technique.
  • Duty to Intervene policies should be reviewed and updated to require officers to act to prevent or stop any act, even by officers, that violates law or policy.

“The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security looks forward to supporting local agencies in the review of policies,” said TDOSHS Commissioner Jeff Long. “The Tennessee Highway Patrol has recently conducted a thorough review of its Use of Force Policy in comparison with the International Association of Chiefs of Police, State and Provincial Academy Directors, and National Tactical Officers Association. The department’s policies go above and beyond the recommendations for established guidelines and we advocate for this approach across Tennessee.”

Improved Information Sharing

The Peace Officers Standards & Training Commission will make the National Decertification Index more accessible to all law enforcement agencies in Tennessee. The index is a national registry that tracks officers who have lost licenses or certificates due to misconduct.

Increased Training

The Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy, under the direction of the state Department of Commerce and Insurance, will now require enhanced curriculum in the training of state, county and local law enforcement officials.

  • Increasing minimum curriculum hours from 400 to 488 to formalize the current practice of completing 88 additional hours of training and study hours.
  • Updating the curriculum to include relevant community-oriented policing concepts in both lecture and hands-on scenarios. No fewer than 16 course hours designed specifically to train officers on the following topics. The POST Commission will also require a total of 8 hours of annual in-service training on these topics:
    • De-escalation techniques
    • Officer’s duty to intervene
    • Public assembly interaction
    • Emphasizing positive community and officer interactions and relationships

“We look forward to working with law enforcement partners to continue to provide highly professional, world-class training through our Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy,” said TDCI Commissioner Hodgen Mainda. “Training enhancements will ensure our force is one of the best in the nation.”

More information about the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy is available here.

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