Three Knox County deputies who were demoted after their behavior during a traffic stop in 2011 have now regained their police powers.
Sheriff Jimmy "JJ" Jones said the officers have "paid their debt" and deserve an opportunity to move forward.
The incident happened on October 16. Officer Brian Rehg pulled a car over on Emory Road for speeding, reckless driving and drag racing. He called for backup because there were several young people in the car.
Four other deputies arrived to assist Rehg: Jeff Bryant, Brad Cox, Alex Slate, and Jason Acuff. During the stop, the deputies told the driver, Terry Wayne Phillips II, that they would let him off if he placed his forehead on a baseball bat and run around it until dizzy. He then had to run around one of the cruisers, touching each corner. A complaint was filed after the incident, and the officers were demoted because the officers' actions were unauthorized and not approved.
The deputies were all stripped of their law enforcement powers and demoted to corrections officers. They also got a cut in pay and lost their guns and drive home vehicles.
Now, Rehg, Bryant, and Cox have been recertified by POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission) and will be able to carry a gun and work side jobs. They can also apply for available patrol positions.
The Sheriff said before they are allowed back on Patrol, they will have
to participate in the field training program.
"They will be scrutinized more than any other
officers and they understand they will not be given another chance,"
The other two officers involved in the incident have not been reinstated. Slate resigned in June 2012 and Acuff is on medical leave.
Phillips was issued a speeding citation, but it was dismissed after the
Sheriff asked the District Attorney General's Office to dismiss it.