Shelby County Sheriff, Mayor Harris speak out after learning unlicensed doctor forces deputies to be re-evaluated

Shelby County Sheriff, Mayor Harris speak out after learning unlicensed doctor forces deputies to b

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner held a press conference Wednesday in regards to 260 deputies having to be re-evaluated.

An unlicensed psychologist performed exams on hundreds of Shelby County employees - including the deputies, dispatchers and firefighters.

Those employees must now be re-evaluated. County officials have said it will cost about $200 per employee to retest.

At least 400 Shelby County Sheriff employees will have to retake a psychological exam.

County officials told WMC5 that roughly 650 Shelby County employees would need to be retested. County leaders are now saying that number was given prematurely and would not be determined until the investigation is complete.

Sheriff Bonner said he went to a meeting with state leaders in December after they raised questions about Dr. Charles Kenny’s license.

Sheriff Bonner said in that meeting, Dr. Kenny spoke openly about the status of his license.

"He told them that his license had expired, but he was good to work under another doctor's license," Sheriff Bonner said.

Sheriff Bonner said Dr. Kenny said that to Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission officials in a meeting back in December. During the meeting, POST officials discussed Dr. Kenny's qualifications.

Officials claim they uncovered his licensed was expired in the state of Tennessee during an audit of records.

However, Shelby County leaders said it appears the state knew about Kenny’s expired license.

WATCH: Shelby County Sheriff, Mayor discuss employees' re-evaluation

"There was communication, as we understand it right now, between the individual hired performing psychological testing and the State to notify the State, notify POST that he would be administering the psychological test under the supervision of someone who was actually licensed,” said Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris. "Obviously that was not good enough and we have learned very recently that we’re going to have to go back and look at this end retest.”

Records show Dr. Kenny signed evaluations stating Dr. John Johnson supervised him.

We spoke to Johnson over the phone, who said he was aware Dr. Kenny’s license was expired, but still agreed to supervise him because he has a great deal of experience and is competent.

We’ve learned 214 deputies and 188 jailers within the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office need to be retested.

Dr. Kenny has also performed evaluations for Shelby County employees working as dispatchers, firefighters and correctional officers - those applications are all being reviewed by the county.

A spokesperson with the state sent WMC5 this statement:

The POST Commission first discovered in December 2018 the issues with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) and the psychological evaluations which were being conducted by an unlicensed person. This practice does not meet state law requirements that psychological evaluations must be conducted by a licensed psychiatrist, and that a copy of the confidential report be kept by the employing agency.
In December at the POST Commission meeting the manner in which the SCSO psychological evaluations were being conducted was discussed. At that time, the Commission did not feel re-testing would be necessary as long as a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist could review the confidential reports and sign off on the qualifications of the affected deputies. In January, POST personnel learned that the required copy of the confidential report was not retained by the SCSO, and so re-testing of the deputies is now necessary to be compliant with state law.
The SCSO has until April 18, 2018 to report to the POST Commission that the testing has been completed.

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