MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Murfreesboro Police Department has released the findings of a report on child arrests that made national headlines.
The report says after the arrests happened on April 15, an After Action Review Committee was formed to examine the incident and make recommendations to the police department.
According to the report, four children between the ages of 9 and 11 were taken into custody. Only two of them were taken from Hobgood Elementary School to the juvenile detention center, neither of whom was ever placed in handcuffs. However, police said one of those students was “mistakenly transported” and “released immediately” when it was discovered there were no juvenile petitions against the child.
The other two juveniles, who were not transported from school, were both handcuffed but one child’s handcuffs were removed before being transported.
After the committee reviewed the arrests, they found 11 “areas of concern/opportunities for improvement.”
- Procedures for verification of active petitions conducted prior to custodial arrests
- School Safety and Education Officers (SSEO) supervision and active involvement in investigation
- Operations and on-scene supervisory control at time of arrest
- Administrative Services Division supervision proactively and fully addressing concerns of other officers
- Chain of command notifications by Administrative Services Division supervision
- Addressing conflicting orders across divisional lines
- Assessment of proper urgency in effectuating arrests despite shrinking timeline
- Communications between investigating officer and school personnel
- Communications within the Administrative Services Division
- Specific direction regarding handcuffing to transporting officers
- Discussion with DA and Court regarding judicial requirement that requires juvenile suspects be arrested and prohibits Department from citing and releasing
The committee also stated it feels the Murfreesboro Police Department should review its policies on handcuffing and transporting prisoners and establish a protocol for juvenile operations in schools.
The report also recommends the department develop reports “specifically designed for use with juvenile victims or suspects,” undergo further training on handcuffing, and establish regular briefing sessions with all SSEO personnel for information sharing purposes.
Police Chief Karl Durr said he remains committed to addressing all concerns and policies identified.
“This report is not the end of this investigation. The Office of Professional Responsibility is conducting an internal affairs investigation regarding this incident,” the chief said in a statement. “Accountability is key to maintaining public trust and confidence, and just as we are accountable to the community, our supervisors and officers are accountable to the policies of the agency.”
Chief Durr also noted that Metro-Nashville police will assist in the internal investigation and also provide a peer review once the investigation is complete.
News 2 confirmed the police department’s Asst. Public Information Officer, Major Clyde Adkison, was placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of that investigation for his involvement in the arrests. Adkison has been with the department for 39 years.
Background on the child arrests
Students at Hobgood Elementary School were handcuffed and taken into custody on Friday, April 15 after authorities say they didn’t break up a fight.
That fight was caught on cell phone video and showed two younger boys, both 6 years old, punching an older kid repeatedly. The boys throwing the punches were not arrested due to their age.RELATED: Parents say 6-year-old son in Murfreesboro fight video not a bully
The arrests sparked both anger and sadness throughout the Hobgood community. Many wanted to know why children as young as 9 were handcuffed in the first place.
Chief Durr vowed to look into the matter at a meeting held two days after the arrests, which is what led to Wednesday’s report.Click here to read more on the Murfreesboro child arrests.