(a) The board of regents of the state university and community college system and the board of trustees of the University of Tennessee are authorized to establish policies pursuant to which a suitable number of persons may be employed or commissioned, or both, as police officers, public safety officers and security officers by institutions and schools governed by the respective boards.

Terms Used In Tennessee Code 49-7-118. Police and other law enforcement officers

  • arrest: Taking physical custody of a person by lawful authority.
  • Code: includes the Tennessee Code and all amendments and revisions to the code and all additions and supplements to the code. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
  • Highway: includes public bridges and may be held equivalent to the words "county way" "county road" or "state road". See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
  • jurisdiction: (1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
  • Oath: includes affirmation. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
  • Person: includes a corporation, firm, company or association. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
  • Property: includes both personal and real property. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
  • State: when applied to the different parts of the United States, includes the District of Columbia and the several territories of the United States. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
  • written: includes printing, typewriting, engraving, lithography, and any other mode of representing words and letters. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105

(b) In addition to the minimum requirements under regulation by the peace officer standards and training commission, each board or institution may establish additional qualifying factors, training standards, and policies for employees holding a police officer’s commission.

(c) The board of regents and the board of trustees are authorized to establish such other minimum qualifications for employment as security officers as they deem appropriate; however, the qualifications for security officers permitted to carry firearms or other arms while on duty shall be at least equivalent to the certification requirements of the peace officers standards and training commission.

(d) When properly commissioned and qualified in accordance with the policies of the board of regents and board of trustees, the police officers shall have all the police powers necessary to enforce all state laws as well as rules and regulations of the board of regents and the board of trustees. The authority granted extends to all facilities or property owned, leased or operated by the board of regents or the board of trustees, including any public roads or rights-of-way that are contiguous to, within the perimeter of or connect between the facilities, property or interests of a particular institution.

(e) (1) A law enforcement agency may enter into such written mutual assistance or other agreements with other law enforcement agencies, including a county sheriff’s department, municipal police department, judicial district drug task force, Tennessee bureau of investigation or Tennessee highway patrol, as are necessary to preserve and protect the property, students and employees of the college or university employing the officers and to otherwise perform their duties. The agreements may provide for the exchange of law enforcement officers and security officers when required for a particular purpose or for mutual assistance to effectuate arrests, execute search warrants and perform other law enforcement functions when the law enforcement agency finds it necessary to act outside of their statutory jurisdiction.

(2) When acting pursuant to a written mutual assistance or other agreement, a police officer shall have the same legal status and immunity from suit as officers of the agency the officer is assisting. A police officer acting pursuant to an assistance agreement shall be covered by the liability insurance policy of the agency of the officer’s regular employment.

(f) (1) Private universities having an enrollment of at least nine thousand (9,000) students and nine thousand (9,000) or more employees, and located within counties having a metropolitan form of government, or private universities or colleges accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and located within a county with a population in excess of eight hundred thousand (800,000), according to the 2000 federal census or any subsequent federal census, may also employ and commission police officers under the conditions described in this section; provided, that the chief law enforcement officer of the metropolitan government or municipal law enforcement agency in which the private university or college is located has appointed the police officer a special deputy in accordance with § Code Sec. 8-8-212″>8-8-212, or has appointed the police officer a special police officer.

(2) The municipal law enforcement agency having jurisdiction where the private university or college is located shall define any geographical limitation on the exercise of police power of the special deputy or special police officer.

(3) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction where the private university or college is located shall be immune from any suit by anyone incurring any wrong, injury, loss, damage, or expense resulting from any act or failure to act on the part of any special deputy or special police officer commissioned a police officer by a private university or college.

(4) No person shall be appointed a special deputy or a special police officer or be commissioned a police officer by a private university or college, unless the person proves to the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction where the private university or college is located that the person’s financial responsibility is in accordance with the terms of § 8-8-303(c).

(5) This subsection (f) shall not entitle the officers to any public funding, for training or otherwise.

(g) As used in this section, unless the context clearly requires otherwise:

(1) “Campus police officer” means a person commissioned by an employing institution and rendered an oath to provide police services, enforce law, exercise arrest authority and carry firearms, and thus is subject to the provisions of the Tennessee peace officer standards and training commission;

(2) “Campus security officer” means a person employed by an institution to provide non-police, security-related services and as such is not commissioned to exercise arrest authority nor carry firearms without additional provision of law, nor is subject to the provisions of the Tennessee peace officer standards and training commission;

(3) “Law enforcement agency” means an institution employing one (1) or more commissioned police officers; and

(4) “Public safety officer” means a person who, in addition to being a commissioned, campus police officer under subdivision (g)(1), performs other significant duties, such as certified firefighter, medical first responder or other tasks associated with homeland security based on the needs of a particular institution.

[Acts 1987, ch. 78, §§ 2-5; 1997, ch. 494, § 1; 1999, ch. 133, § 1; 2004, ch. 766, §§ 1-9; 2005, ch. 119, § 1.]