POST Commission not doing inspections of police training academies

A state Comptroller’s audit says the Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission has not inspected any of Tennessee’s law enforcement training academies for more than two years, reports the News Sentinel.

The POST Commission, which is the primary regulatory agency for the state’s law enforcers, did not darken the doorways of any of the 11 training academies in the state, including four in East Tennessee, in 2012 or 2013.

Officials confirmed Thursday POST has not conducted a required on-site inspection at the training facilities operated by the Knox County Sheriff’s Office and Knoxville Police Department since at least 2011.

In the audit, POST Executive Secretary Brian Grisham blamed “personnel losses and travel restrictions.” State law requires annual on-site visits to the academies, which provide the basic law enforcement training all law enforcers in Tennessee must receive to be POST-certified officers.

…”Without adequate compliance monitoring, the POST Commission is limited in its ability to ensure that law enforcement training academies are providing appropriate training and graduating qualified officers,” the audit stated.

The audit also revealed the problem is not new. The Comptroller’s Office made similar findings in a 2008 audit, and POST promised to beef up its efforts, saying it had boosted its staff.

“Management stated (in 2008) that … commission investigators would conduct annual on-site visits and that at least one extensive review would be performed every two to three years,” the 2014 audit stated. “Deficiencies, however, still exist.”

POST now says “additional responsibilities have put a strain on existing resources” and it wants to “modify the monitoring rule to allow for less frequent on-site visits,” the audit stated. The agency also is proposing a plan to recruit volunteers from law enforcement agencies to conduct the on-site visits.

KPD Chief David Rausch and KCSO Assistant Chief Deputy Bobby Spangler both said Thursday that although their training academies have not been inspected by POST for the past three years, they are not concerned with the level of training they afford or the work POST does.