The Peace Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) Commission has recently enacted several rule changes. Many of the rule changes are merely "housekeeping" revisions, such as changing the term "police officer" to "law enforcement officer." However, several changes will have a significant impact on local law enforcement agencies, such as sheriff’s departments. The P.O.S.T. Commission began enforcement of the rule changes on January 1, 2003.
Following is a summary of important rule changes.
Completion of Basic Law Enforcement Academy
1. The amount of time an officer may work before completing a basic law enforcement course (basic police academy) has been reduced from twelve (12) months to six (6) months. During the initial six-month period, prior to attending the Basic Law Enforcement Course, the recruit must be paired with a field training officer or other certified senior officer.
2. An officer whose basic training from another state has been substituted for the required training in Tennessee must take the P.O.S.T Certification Test within 30 days of the date of employment. If the employee does not pass the test on the first attempt, the employee can retake the test within 30 days of the first attempt. If the employee does not pass on the second attempt, he or she will be required to attend an approved basic law enforcement school in order to be certified.
The minimum passing score for all basic police school tests and in-service tests is being raised from 70 percent to 75 percent. This change will also affect officers taking the P.O.S.T. Certification Test who received their basic training in another state.
Length of Basic Academy
The Basic Law Enforcement Course (Basic Academy) will now include a minimum of 400 hours of instruction and study. The previous minimum was 320 hours. This change should have no impact on local governments as the basic academies already provide more than 400 hours of instruction and study.
The minimum standard relating to mental evaluations has been changed to read as follows:
... have been certified by a Tennessee Licensed Health Care Provider qualified in the psychiatric or psychological fields as being free from any disorder, as set forth in the current edition of the DSM, that would, in the professional judgment of the examiner, impair the subject's ability to perform any essential function of the job.
1. No waiver will be granted for mental disorders.
It is important that law enforcement agencies use the correct mental evaluation form as the old form does not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
If you have any questions concerning these rule changes, please call Terry Hazard, CTAS Criminal Justice Consultant, at 615-532-3555.