Gov. Bill Lee announced a new partnership last week with law enforcement agencies across the state in an effort to reform policing in Tennessee.
“The intent of this partnership is the desire to ensure law enforcement are consistently reflecting the values of the communities they serve,” Lee explained in a press release.
“Horrifying, 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,” he added.
The new partnership includes 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.
Under the partnership, the agencies will review and update their use of force and duty to intervene policies within the next 60 days.
Lee’s office said use of force policies will be updated to ensure chokeholds are not used as a restraining technique, while updated duty to intervene policies will require officers to step in when a fellow officer uses excessive force.
“The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security looks forward to supporting local agencies in the review of policies,” said 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,” he continued.
Lee said the Peace Officer 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 because of misconduct.
The Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy, meanwhile, will update its curriculum to require training on de-escalation techniques, an officer’s duty to intervene, interaction with protesters, and building positive community 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 Commissioner Hodgen Mainda. “Training enhancements will ensure we our force is one of the best in the nation.”
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