Hundreds of Shelby County sheriff’s deputies must be retested after it was discovered an unlicensed psychologist administered mental evaluations to them, according to localmemphis.com
“The Local I-Team uncovered state law changed several years ago, and it appears no one in Shelby County or at the state noticed until now,” the station reported.
“Shelby County taxpayers have already paid once for these employees to get mental evaluations, and now you are paying again. Dr. Charles Kenny’s psychologist license lapsed in 2001.Since 2013, he worked under the supervision of licensed psychologist Dr. John Johnson. The Tennessee state board that oversees law enforcement told Shelby County that was improper,” localmemphis.com reported.
“The Local I -Team uncovered when Kenny first began doing the psych evaluations for Shelby County, the Tennessee state law only required the person signing off on the officer’s mental evaluation was ‘a qualified professional in the psychiatric or psychological field,’” the station reported.
The law changed in 2015. It now says the officer has to be certified by “a Tennessee licensed health care provider qualified in the psychiatric or psychological field.”
The station said “either no one at Shelby County knew the law had changed or the folks in Nashville had a change of heart about what they would allow Shelby County to do.”
Hundreds of county employees must now take the test again, localmemphis.com reported.
Mark Cunningham of the Nashville-based Beacon Center of Tennessee, a free market think tank, talked to the station about the matter.
“Why do we have to pay because government officials are incompetent? This happens too far too often in Memphis,” the station quoted Cunningham as saying.
“It’s pretty clear that somebody dropped the ball here and it looks like a government employee dropped the ball. It costs us money when they make mistakes. That’s a big issue for me, is not just saying, ‘oh yeah, I spent an extra dollar on this.’ When it’s the government, it effects all of us, so when the government makes mistakes, we’re the ones that pay the price.”
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to email@example.com.
Photo “Shelby County Courthouse” by Thomas R Machnitzki. CC BY 3.0.