Gov. Lee announces progress on Tenn. law enforcement reform

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Governor Bill Lee announces progress on law enforcement reform across the state.

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At Thursday’s media briefing, Governor Lee announced recommendations from the state’s Law Enforcement Reform Partnership to strengthen policing policies, improve information sharing around disciplinary actions and increase officer training.

Partnership members represented a diverse group of individuals and organizations across all three grand divisions of the state , and include members of law enforcement, state commissioners, state lawmakers and community leaders.

Some of the recommendations include updated use of force & duty to intervene policies. Additionally, a use of force policy checklist was created for agencies to review existing policies and to serve as a resource for agencies that may or may not have existing policies.

“That is another strong positive that we are moving Tennessee in the right direction quicker quite frankly,” said TBI Director David Rausch.

The governor say almost 90 percent of Tennessee law enforcement agencies have reviewed their policies and completed the online checklist. Also, law enforcement agencies across the state will now have improved information sharing to insure officers who have lost licenses or certification due to misconduct don’t end up at another agency.

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“Utilizing the national desertification index will improve information sharing between our law enforcement agencies, strengthen accountability and ensure bad actors are handled appropriately,” said Commissioner Jeff Long with the Tennessee Depart of Safety and Homeland Security.

As part of the reform effort, there will now be increased officer training. Enhancements include requiring a minimum of 16 course hours designed for policing concepts such as proper use of force and emphasizing positive community and officer interactions.

De-escalation techniques and officer duty to intervene, officer wellness, public assembly and community interaction including cross cultural training.

In addition to enhanced policies, a total of $300,000 in CARES Act funding will be utilized for 90 additional cadet scholarships for the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy.

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