|Legal Opinion: |
Text of Document: January 29, 1996
Recently you contacted MTAS with a question concerning some of your police officers. It seems that several of your officers have not attended the Peace Officers Standard Training (POST) course and you wanted to know exactly how many hours these officers could work under Tennessee law.
T.C.A. 38-8-101et seq. is the set of Tennessee statutes governing the employment and training of police officers. 38-8-101(a)(1) defines a full time officer as a person who is employed by a municipality whose primary duty is the prevention and detection of crime and primary source of income is said duties. In subsection (b) it defines a part time officer as one whose primary duty is the support of the full time officer for pay not to exceed more than twenty hours a week and a not more than 100 hours in a month. The statute then goes on to state:
Any police officer who works in excess of the maximum hours as specified herein will be reclassified to a full time status and must meet all requirements for standards/training as mandated under the law and peace officers standards and training commission rules. (emphasis added)
In the POST standards, Chapter 1110-2-.01 requires all full time officers to be to be certified by meeting the basic preemployment standards and have met the Basic Police Training requirements by graduating from an accredited police recruit training program. T.C.A. 38-8-105 makes these standards binding on all municipalities in the state and provides for up to a $1000 fine against the person who signs the warrant or check paying the salary of any person acting as a police officer who, to the knowledge of the signer, does not meet the qualifications of a police officer.
I do not know of any cases in which this fine has been levied, but it is definitely in the books. In light of this, I think it is clear that all officers that have not been certified should be strictly limited to the twenty hour a week, one hundred hour a month standard for part time officers. There is a statutory exception to this allowing part time officers to work more than the maximum one month out of the year.
I have enclosed the authorities mentioned herein. Please feel free to contact me if I may be of any further assistance on this or any other matter.