State senator questions THP practices - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

State senator questions THP practices

The questions Sen. Mark Norris wants answered revolve around the Tennessee Highway Patrol and its practices.

Norris says too many questions have been raised about behind the scenes operations there.

When Tennessee troopers hit the road, Sen. Norris and others want to make sure the best people are behind the wheel and running the operation. Norris says the assignments of several troopers have raised eyebrows.

Questions swirled around a trooper assigned to House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh, whether assignments were appropriate and why he earned $27,000 in overtime. There are also questions over why 12 troopers were assigned to cover Tennessee Black Caucus meetings in 2003 and 2004, meetings which are not directly state-related and took place where security was already provided. The cost to the state, $22,000.

"Requested a variety of documents regarding his department's employment policies and practices and I've not, as yet, had a response from the commissioner or Department of Safety," said Norris, Collierville (R).

An investigation by The Tennessean newspaper showed that two-thirds of troopers promoted gave money to Gov. Bredesen's campaign or had direct ties with those who did.

Bredesen told The Tennesseean there is no correlation.

"I have never told anybody in my administration to make sure that somebody was promoted and somebody was hired; let me be real clear about that," said Bredesen.

Norris said he feels the matter will end up in a series of hearings.

The Tennessee Black Caucus defended its use of troopers saying they were needed to take tickets and for security.

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