By RACHAEL LONG
The Brentwood Police Department regularly sees crime involving automobile theft and burglary. But the increase in this type of crime is not unique to Brentwood. It’s happening all over Middle Tennessee and the rest of Williamson County.
Police Chief Jeff Hughes is ready to take the next step is combating crimes of this nature. He’s asking the City of Brentwood to authorize an interlocal agreement between the City of Brentwood, the City of Franklin and Williamson County to allow for joint law enforcement response to automobile theft, burglary and related crimes.
Tennessee state law — under the interlocal cooperation act — gives public agencies of the state the authorization to enter into these types of agreements for joint law enforcement response. This law allows the proposed agencies to dedicate personnel and equipment — in the discretion of each entity — for joint response outside their regular boundaries to calls related to auto theft or auto burglary.
Hughes told city commissioners at Thursday’s briefing that, if the resolution is approved, the Brentwood Police Department would designate four officers to this effort.
City Attorney Kristen Corn mentioned that the number of resources or personnel needed is subject to change, dependent on each entity’s needs.
“We can get a lot more done efficiently and effectively if we combine our resources working the same suspects [as] opposed to doing it separately,” Hughes said.
The City of Franklin, Hughes said, already had a task force to address this type of crime. At a recent meeting of both law enforcement agencies, Hughes said the City of Brentwood and the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office both offered resources to join their efforts at the recommendation of county attorneys.
Officers responding to calls, under the agreement, are considered as acting in a governmental capacity. That means all rights, privileges, exemptions and immunities will apply to officers within the agreement as if they were within their own city (or county) limits.
“If we’re acting in a law enforcement capacity outside of our jurisdiction, that just gives us an extra layer of protection working in a joint cooperative effort like this,” Hughes said.
Without going into detail about police tactics, Hughes said one of the important benefits of the interlocal agreement is the ability to share intelligence information and resources with other agencies about suspects.
The initial term of the agreement is one year, and it is automatically renewed for one-year terms. If any party wants to terminate the agreement, they may do so upon 30 days’ written notice to other parties involved.
The interlocal agreement is scheduled to be considered by the County Commission and the Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen in March.
The Brentwood Board of Commissioners will hear this resolution at the City Commission meeting. The meeting is held at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 11 at City Hall.