NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WTVF) — Tennessee will funnel $300,000 of federal coronavirus relief dollars to help cover the cost of 90 additional police cadet scholarships as part of Gov. Bill Lee’s initiative to strengthen policing.
The announcement comes as advocates across the nation have called for systemic reforms in policing, which have included demands to defund the police — something Lee, a Republican, has spurned and described as “meaningless.”
Instead, Lee on Thursday said the recommendations that were drafted in partnership with top administration officials and law enforcement groups.
“Through this partnership, our state has created one of the most comprehensive and collaborative law enforcement advancements in recent Tennessee history while also working to recruit top-tier talent to our force,” Lee said. “I am confident the outcomes of this partnership will help ensure our law enforcement officials are effectively protecting communities across the state while serving every Tennessean with dignity and respect.”
The governor discussed police reform during his weekly press briefing on Thursday:
The partnership was announced in July when Lee asked every law enforcement agency in the state to review its use of force and duty to intervene policies. During that announcement, Lee also discussed working with the following groups to create broad policy change: the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, the Tennessee Sheriffs' Association and the Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission.