After more than a year of battling corruption within its
ranks, the Tennessee Department of Safety announced Thursday, May 18, a new
promotional process for the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
The new procedure is part of a series of sweeping changes
aimed at ending decades of politicking within the patrol.
The system is based on recommendations that New York-based
Kroll Inc., a third-party consulting firm, outlined in a report presented to
Gov. Phil Bredesen in March. Bredesen commissioned the study in December 2005
following allegations that THP’s hiring and promotions process was tainted by
“This process will be up front and open for everyone to see,
and these promotions will be based solely on the applicant’s qualifications and
merit,” Department of Safety Commissioner Gerald Nicely said in a statement.
“Today, everyone who chooses to will know step-by-step how, why and when a person
in the Highway Patrol is chosen for a promotion.”
The Department of Safety halted all lieutenant and sergeant
promotions within the THP in August 2005. After reviewing the patrol’s hiring
and promotional processes, the report called THP “a professional organization
from a public-facing, day-to-day operations perspective,” but added, “while all
indications are that the vast majority of individuals working for THP perform
their daily law enforcement tasks with a high degree of professionalism, there
is no question that politics has permeated hiring, assignment and promotion
within the THP.”
Through the Department of Safety’s Web site, the public will
be able to view vacant positions within the Highway Patrol, and the test scores
of every eligible applicant will be posted. This site will be updated in real
time, allowing the public to view the process as it unfolds. The promotions
menu page can be viewed at: www.tennessee.gov/safety/promotionmenu.htm.