NASHVILLE – Gov. Bill Lee made historic proposals in his 2022-23 budget that will further improve Tennessee’s standing as a national leader for law enforcement, firefighter training, and consumer protection.
During Lee’s fourth State of the State address on Jan. 31, 2022, he outlined proposals that will modernize Tennessee’s police and firefighter training academies, help cover the cost of training more police and fire recruits and increase the oversight related to consumer protections overseen by the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI).
“Gov. Lee’s bold, responsible budget proposals are truly transformational in nature for the State of Tennessee as they will help grow, protect and train the next generation of Tennessee law-enforcement officers and firefighters,” said TDCI Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Lawrence. “Through Gov. Lee’s vision and commitment, Tennessee will recruit more law enforcement officers to serve our communities, improve the training for both police and fire and bolster our efforts to stop financial abuses. On behalf of the men and women of Commerce and Insurance and the 6.9 million Tennesseans we are privileged to serve, I offer my sincere thanks to Gov. Lee for this budget proposal and look forward to continuing to show the nation that Tennessee is America at its best.”
Under Lee’s proposal, $335 million will be used to construct a state-of-the-art Multi-Agency Law Enforcement Training Academy (MALETA) at Cockrill Bend which will be used by the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy (TLETA), the Tennessee Department of Safety and the Tennessee Department of Correction for training local law enforcement, members of the Tennessee Highway Patrol and corrections officers.
Additional allocations in Lee’s budget designed to enhance Tennessee law enforcement include:
- $30 million to establish up to $10,000 recruitment/relocation bonuses for law enforcement officers moving to Tennessee.
- $24 million to offset the tuition costs incurred by law enforcement agencies when sending cadets to Basic Police School at TLETA.
- $1.5 million to create a hiring portal to streamline the hiring of law enforcement officers in Tennessee. The portal will be used by TLETA and staff of the Tennessee Peace Officers and Standard Training Commission (POST).
Under Lee’s proposal, the 20-year-old Tennessee Fire Service and Codes Enforcement Academy (TFACA) will receive crucial upgrades to ensure its continued usefulness in the training of career and volunteer firefighters. Located on 330 acres in Bedford County, TFACA is a national leader for training firefighters and codes enforcement officials. TFACA is part of the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office, which is a division of TDCI.
As part of Lee’s proposals, the following allocations would be made:
- $1.35 million to construct a residential burn building at TFACA to train firefighters on fighting fires that occur in a residential setting. Approximately 80% of unintentional civilian deaths and 76% of firefighter injuries occur in residences, so constructing a residential burn building is critical to the mission of training career and volunteer firefighters.
- $1.6 million to purchase a new 100’ ladder training truck to replace a current ladder truck which dates to the opening of the campus.
- $515,000 to pay for training requests from Tennessee volunteer departments, which comprise over 70% of Tennessee’s fire departments. TFACA strives to provide as much low or no-cost training as possible to Tennessee’s volunteer fire departments.
- $485,000 to complete necessary maintenance at TFACA’s campus to help ensure its good stewardship.
As part of Lee’s budget proposal, an additional Examiner will be hired to work in TDCI’s Securities Division to handle increased securities examinations. The Tennessee Securities Division is responsible for enforcing the Tennessee Securities Act of 1980 and protecting Tennessee investors by maintaining the integrity of the securities market through the regulation of the securities industry and capital markets of Tennessee.
The Department will discuss these budget proposals in further detail with members of the General Assembly throughout the legislative session.