Gov. Bill Lee announces enhancement of law enforcement policies, pledges funding for cadet scholarships

Gov. Bill Lee announces enhancement of law enforcement policies, pledges funding for cadet scholarships
Gov. Bill Lee announces enhancement of law enforcement policies, pledges funding for cadet scholarships (Source: WMC Action News 5)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMC) - Thursday, Gov. Lee announced $30,000 in CARES Act funding will be used to help cover the cost of 90 additional police cadet scholarships.

It’s part of his initiative to strengthen policing in Tennessee, based on a recommendation from the State’s Law Enforcement Reform Partnership.

Lee announced the Law Enforcement Reform Partnership in early July and entrusted them with providing recommendations by early September.

The task force gave recommendations to update use of force and duty to intervene policies, improve information sharing and increase officer training.

A Use of Force policy checklist was created for agencies to review existing policies and to serve as a resource for agencies that may or may not have existing policies. Almost 90% of Tennessee law enforcement agencies have reviewed their policies and completed the online checklist.

Tennessee coronavirus briefing (Sept. 10)

As a result, the following enhancements have been made:

  • Increasing the minimum training hours from 400 to 488 hours;
  • Updating curriculums to require a minimum of 16 course hours designed for relevant policing concepts such as proper use of force and emphasizing positive community and officer interactions; and
  • Annual in-service training updates, including a total of ten hours dedicated to the following topics:
    • De-escalation techniques and duty to intervene
    • Officer wellness
    • Public assembly and community interaction
    • Designated community immersion

Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner was in Nashville Thursday for Governor Bill Lee’s media briefing about progress in the Tennessee Law Enforcement Reform Task Force.

Bonner, along with other law enforcement and community leaders, have been developing new protocols since July.

“The task force’s top priority during the development of the recommendations was to ensure the dignity and humanity of every Tennessean is preserved,” said Bonner.

But Sheriff Bonner’s deputies could soon face new restrictions in Shelby County.

Shelby County Commission is considering multiple ordinances including limiting military equipment and tear gas.

Sheriff Bonner will appear before the full commission Monday.

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