Gov. Lee announces law enforcement reform partnership


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced a new partnership with several law enforcement agencies to review use-of-force and duty-to-intervene policies, improve information sharing, and increase training.

The governor has partnered with the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, Tennessee Sheriffs’ Association, and the Peace Officer Standards & Training Commission.

“The timing and the intent of this partnership reflects a desire to ensure that law enforcement are consistently on the side of the communities that they serve,” Lee said during a news conference Thursday. “Use of force policies should be reviewed and updated to ensure, for example, that chokeholds are not used as a restraining technique. Duty to intervene policies will be reviewed and updated to require officers to act to prevent, to stop, any act, even by other officers, that violate law.”

The governor’s announcement comes amid increased scrutiny of law enforcement nationwide following the death of George Floyd, who died while in police custody in Minneapolis.

The governor’s office released the following information about the partnership:

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 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 National Decertification 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 Tennessee 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 curriculum to include relevant community-oriented policing concepts in both lecture and hands-on scenarios. No fewer than sixteen (16) course hours designed specifically to train officers on the following topics. The POST Commission will also require a total of eight 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 Commissioner Hodgen Mainda. “Training enhancements will ensure our force is one of the best in the nation.”

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