New hiring, promotions policies for patrol in Tennessee

| Wednesday, May 24, 2006

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 political influence.

“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.

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