Complaints continue within scandal-plagued Tennessee Highway Patrol

| 2/9/2006

Another former state trooper has come forward with allegations of corruption and cronyism within the ranks of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Charles B. Farmer, a former lieutenant within the patrol, filed a lawsuit Monday, Feb. 6, against the Tennessee Department of Safety, claiming he was fired from his job in 2004 after it was discovered that members of his family supported Republican candidates in a 2002 statewide election, The Tennessean reported.

Farmer claims he had never done poorly on evaluations until 2003, when a superior officer – the same man he claims chastised him for not supporting a Democratic candidate a year earlier – gave him bad marks. According to The Tennessean, after the poor test score, Farmer was transferred to a midnight shift and was then terminated.

Testimonials of wrongdoing within the patrol are beginning to creep out of the woodwork. Earlier this week, THP Trooper Archie Story claimed he was being fired from the patrol, after he complained to his supervisors about being forced to fix a ticket and change an accident report, according to The Associated Press

Details on who the ticket was allegedly fixed for have not emerged. However, Story – a trooper with the patrol for nine years – said he filed the complaint in January, and was notified of his termination five days later, according to The AP.

THP officials have denied the claim, saying that Story’s firing has nothing to do with his complaint, but rather with two accident scenes he arrived to late, The AP reported.

Farmer’s lawsuit is the latest in a string of scandals to emerge from Tennessee’s state and local police forces, most of which stem from an ongoing investigation by The Tennessean. The newspaper has uncovered more than a dozen incidents, with allegations ranging from sexual misconduct to high-level cronyism throughout the state’s police force and various levels of government.