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Law Enforcement Officers' Records

Reference Number: MTAS-430
Reviewed Date: 06/24/2022

Like all public employees’ records, law enforcement officers’ personnel files are generally open to public inspection subject to the limitations mentioned in this and the previous section. However, the custodian of the records must record all inspections and notify the officer within three days of the inspection, that an inspection took place. The notification must include the name, address, and telephone number of the person making the inspection; for whom the inspection was made; and the date of the inspection. T.C.A. § 10-7-503(c). It is also important to note that anytime a citizen has the right to inspect, he/she also has the right to receive copies. T.C.A. § 10-7-506(a).  So, the same notification procedure set out above must be followed if copies are requested instead of inspection.

T.C.A. § 10-7-504(g)(1) allows the police chief to "segregate" or refuse to release information that could be used to locate or identify any officer working undercover. It also allows the police chief to "segregate" or refuse to release certain personal information about an officer of his or her immediate family when the request is for a professional, business or official purpose. Personal information is defined as the officer's residential address; home and cell phone numbers; place of employment; name, work address, and phone numbers of the officer’s immediate family; and the names, locations, and phone numbers of any educational institution or day care center where the officer’s spouse or child is enrolled. The police chief must consider the specific circumstances in making the determination. If the police chief decides to withhold personal information, he or she must give specific reasons in writing to the requester within two business days and must release the redacted file. When the police chief determines there is no reason to keep personal information confidential, he or she must notify the officer and give the officer a reasonable opportunity to oppose release of the information. A request for personal information about a law enforcement officer must include the requester’s business address, business phone number, and e-mail address. It also must include the name and contact information for a supervisor for verification. T.C.A. § 10-7-504(g).

The information made confidential by this provision is in addition to the information made confidential by other provisions in the Tennessee Code.