200 SCSO deputies must be re-evaluated, costing county more than $40K

Unlicensed psychologist performed exams on deputies

200 SCSO deputies must be re-evaluated, costing county more than $40K

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Shelby County leaders want to find out how an unlicensed psychologist performed exams on about 200 deputies.

Mayor Lee Harris said depending on the findings of the investigation, the county may be reaching out to the DA's office.

A spokesperson with the State said officials with the Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission, or POST, began to raise questions about Dr. Charles Kenny’s qualifications back in December.

It turns out Dr. Charles Kenny was hired years ago, but he hasn't been a licensed Tennessee psychologist since 2001 according the Tennessee Department of Health site.

Now, about 200 deputies are being re-evaluated.

Dr. Kenny administered the pre-employment psychological exams that would determine if a deputy was "free from any impairment" before starting their job.

"If any of these facts are true as the way they're being laid out to us so far then we will be making contact with the DA and so forth to make sure that if any laws were broken that something is done," Mayor Harris said.

Mayor Harris said deputies will begin re-testing this Friday. The test is about five hours long and also includes a face to face interview.

If a deputy does not pass the exam, it could result in his or her termination from the force.

The exam given to these deputies ensures they are free from any impairment before starting their job.

200 SCSO deputies must be re-evaluated, costing county more than $40K

Mayor Harris said an oversight like this isn't acceptable, and now it's costing the county more than $40,000

"This should not have happened,” Mayor Harris said. “We're investigating right now."

"This is a problem that this happened in 2013 or 2014,” Mayor Harris said. “That somebody was brought in to help with this process who was not credentialed in the proper way." WMC Action News 5 learned the county hired Kenny.

A spokesperson with Shelby County’s HR Department sent us this statement.

“Human Resources was informed by the Sheriff’s Office that the State of Tennessee identified a flaw in the county’s 2013 standard pre-employment process required for new deputies. This has resulted in a need for additional psychological testing. The re-testing of deputies hired under this 2013 process is underway.”
Mike Lewis, Human Resources Administrator

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance also sent this statement:

”In December, POST officials raised the question of the qualification of the doctor listed on Shelby County Sheriff’s Office paperwork as performing the psychological profiles for SCSO deputies. In particular, evaluations signed by a “Dr. Charles T. Kenny, supervised by Dr. John T. Johnson” were questioned by POST as Charles Kenny has not been a licensed Tennessee psychologist since 2001. It is estimated by SCSO officials that Dr. Kenny has been performing the psychological exams since 2014. SCSO officials have told POST they have identified around 200 applicants who may be at issue because of the doctor’s expired license.
To be eligible for certification in Tennessee, all POST applicants must submit to a psychological evaluation, conducted by a “Tennessee licensed healthcare provider qualified in the psychiatric or psychological field” and must be certified to be “free from any impairment as set forth in the current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” of the American Psychiatric Association.
POST does not certify psychologists. POST accepted the earlier SCSO psychological evaluations as being properly conducted by a qualified mental health professional until we learned otherwise. Shelby County has begun the process to employ a new examiner and implement a new methodology to have the proper examinations performed for the officers.”

Mayor Harris said last week on Friday, all 200 or so deputies were notified by letter they would have to be re-screened.

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