|Legal Opinion: |
Text of Document: September 21, 1995
This letter is in response to your question regarding whether the Town may rehire a police officer who resigned earlier this year. The answer to your question is yes, if this person meets the standards for certification established by the peace officer standards and training commission.
Tennessee Code Annotated § 38-8-105(a) provides that the "[r]equirements for minimum standards as set forth herein or as required by the commission shall be mandatory and binding upon any municipality . . . of this state." In fact, any person who knowingly appoints an applicant or who knowingly signs a check to pay the salary of a person who fails to meet the qualifications of a police officer, commits a misdemeanor and may be subject to a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000.00).
There are generally two areas of requirements for certifcation of police officers: (1) qualifications and (2) training. The initial qualifications are set forth in T.C.A. § 38-8-106(a)(1--9) and include a physical examination, having fingerprints on file with the TBI, being certified by a psychiatrist or psychologist, etc. These requirements apply to all officers, including part-time, auxilary officers and special deputies. In addition, all officers must complete recruit training within one (1) year of the their date of employment and thereafter must successfully complete an annual in-service training session. If the applicant has already completed recruit training, the officer may only have to complete annual in-service training within the year. Failing to complete either recruit training or in-service training will result in the loss of certification for the officer. T.C.A. § 38-8-107(b).
To summarize, the town may only employ a person as a police officer who meets the requirements established by the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commission. If the applicant meets these requirements, they must continue to be trained in order to remain certified. The POST Commission has published more detailed information regarding the training requirements that I will be happy to send you if you think it will be helpful.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions regarding this matter.
MTAS Legal Consultant