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M’boro PD updates juvenile operations policy

MURFREESBORO – One of the items on Murfreesboro Town Council’s agenda during their regular meeting here last week was to approve the police department’s juvenile operations policy.

Chief David Griffith brought the information to the Council, explaining he had been working to update various town police department policies. In the past, Griffith noted, Murfreesboro PD had always followed the recommendations from the Department of Juvenile Justice, but they didn’t have a specific written policy to regulate dealing with younger citizens.

“This policy goes into when you’re interrogating them, when you’re holding them, when to enforce certain things,” he said. “It gives you more guidelines to actually go by.”

He stressed the procedures included in the policy were things the department had already been following.

The juvenile operations policy covers a wide range of information for handling juveniles such as criteria for intake referrals, procedure for taking a juvenile into custody, parental and school notification requirements, procedure for interviews, and truancy prevention.

The policy for juvenile interviews, for example, states they are limited to no more than two hours per session, should involve no more than two police officers, be conducted in a reasonable manner, and shall be recorded on video with corresponding audio.

If a minor is charged with a criminal offense, the policy states, the law enforcement officer shall notify the parent or guardian as soon as practical in person or by telephone. School administrators will receive notice within five days if a juvenile is charged with a felony or taken into custody.

Chief Griffith also noted he gathered the information included within the policy from several different agencies including the Greenville Police Department, and he had the policy approved by Town Attorney Buddy Jones before bringing it to the Council.

Council member Sarah Wallace mentioned the topic of a town curfew which wasn’t covered in the juvenile operations policy. She recalled they had a curfew in the past and suggested they could consider enforcing it again.

Both the Council and Chief Griffith agreed to get more information and discuss the curfew policy at a future meeting.

Council member Billy Theodorakis motioned to approve the juvenile operations policy, and Wallace seconded. The motion passed with no opposition.