Police Officer Requirements – Tennessee
Tennessee Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission
LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS.
All full-time commissioned law enforcement officers employed by an agency required to meet minimum standards must meet pre-employment requirements and, upon completion of the required basic training, will be issued a POST Certification.
(1) Full-time Commissioned Law Enforcement Officer Pre-employment Requirements.
The Commission shall issue a certificate of compliance to any person who meets the qualifications for employment and satisfactorily completes a POST certified Basic Law Enforcement Training Academy. All persons employed as a full-time law enforcement officer, after July 1, 1982, must be certified by POST and shall comply with the following preemployment requirements:
- Be at least eighteen (18) years of age;
- Be a citizen of the United States
- Be a high school graduate or possess equivalence. No waivers will be granted for minimum education requirements;
- Not have been convicted of or pleaded guilty to or entered a plea of nolo contendere to any felony charge or to any violation of any federal or state laws or city ordinances relating to force, violence, theft, dishonesty, gambling, liquor or controlled substances;
- The agency must present a copy of any DD-214s, DD-215s and DD873s along with the application for certification.
- The commission may consider a waiver from pre-employment requirements for a person who has been convicted of, or entered a plea of nolo contendere to any violation of any federal or state laws or city ordinances (excluding felony charges) relating to force, violence, theft, dishonesty, gambling, liquor (including driving while intoxicated), or controlled substances when the offense was classed as a misdemeanor.
- No waiver shall be granted while officer is under the jurisdiction of the court or considered on probation, whether supervised or unsupervised, and in the case of ‘‘driving while intoxicated’’ the officer shall have met all the requirements of the Tennessee Department of Safety and have been restored his/her permanent driving privileges under the laws of the State of Tennessee.
- A person who has had misdemeanor charges expunged may be considered for certification. It is the responsibility of the officer and employing agency to present information and court documents relating to expungement to the Commission.
- No waiver will be granted for felony convictions or a narcotics violation that could result in a felony charge.
- The agency must present a written request for waiver for these charges and provide a copy of the final court disposition of the case.
- Not have been released or discharged under any other than honorable discharge from any of the armed forces of the United States;
- Have his fingerprints on file with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation;
- Have passed a physical examination by a licensed physician;
- Have good moral character as determined by a thorough investigation conducted by the employing agency; and/or the POST Commission; and
- 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.
- No waiver will be granted for mental disorders.
(2) Sheriffs’ Compliance Requirements.
Effective July 1, 1993, any sheriff meeting the requirements for training set forth in T.C.A. §38-8-111(f), shall be issued a Sheriff Certificate of Compliance in the manner in which it issues law enforcement officer’s certificate of compliance. To apply for training, a sheriff shall give written notice to the Commissioner that the sheriff is exercising the option to receive training. The sheriff shall attach to the notice an affidavit, sworn to and signed by the sheriff, certifying that the sheriff qualifies for training by meeting each of the requirements set forth in this paragraph.
To qualify for training, a sheriff must:
- Be at least twenty-five (25) years of age;
- Be a citizen of the United States;
- Be a high school graduate or possess equivalence;
- Have a good moral character;
- Not have been convicted by a court of the United States, the State of Tennessee, or any state or territory of the United States of an offense that was a felony;
- Not have been released or discharged from the Armed Forces of the United States with any discharge other than an honorable discharge;
- Have caused his fingerprints to be filed with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation;
- Have been examined by a physician licensed to practice in the State of Tennessee who has certified that in the physician’s opinion, the sheriff is physically fit to participate in the training;
- Have been certified by a qualified professional in the psychiatric or psychological fields to be free of all apparent mental disorders as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, Third Edition (DSM-III), or its successor, of the American Psychiatric Association.
(3) Training Requirements.
Any officer seeking certification under these rules who conforms to pre-employment requirements shall, within six months of initial employment as a law enforcement officer, satisfactorily complete the Basic Law Enforcement Course as established in accordance with these rules. During this 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. Commencing July 1, 1982, any time served as a full-time commissioned law enforcement officer in any Tennessee law enforcement agency is accumulative and will count as part of the six-month time limit.
(4) Application Requirement.
No officer shall be certified under these rules unless application is made at such time and in such form as the Commission may require (T.C.A. §38-8-104). If after enrolling in an academy an officer does not successfully complete basic police training, he/she must return to the same academy under the following circumstances:
- to make up any portion not successfully completed.
- if dropped for academic or disciplinary reason.
- in the event an officer fails to successfully complete basic police training after returning for makeup he/she must retake the entire school.
(5) Verification Requirement.
No officer shall be certified under these rules unless (T.C.A. §38-8- 104):
Age At least eighteen (18) years of age for law enforcement officer; 25 years of age for Sheriff
Education High School Diploma or G.E.D
Citizenship US Citizen
- No felony conviction or to any violation of any federal or state laws or city ordinances relating to force, violence, theft, dishonesty, gambling, liquor or controlled substances;
- Honorable discharge from any of the armed forces of the United States if applicable
- Submit fingerprint requirement
- Pass physical examination by a licensed physician
- Have good moral character
- Pass psychiatric or psychological examination by a Tennessee Licensed Health Care Provider