COLLEGEDALE, Tenn (WDEF) – The Collegedale Police Department has entered into an agreement with the Tennessee Department of Health to assist their officers in being more prepared for calls involving covid-19 patients.
In April, the state department of health, at the request of Gov. Bill Lee, offered to share federally protected health information with law enforcement agencies.
Brian Hickman, Collegedale police chief signed the agreement without consulting city commissioners.
However, city officials believe that his actions were appropriate.
Collegedale police chief Brian Hickman signed an agreement with the state that allows him to be given the names of residents who have recently tested positive for the coronavirus.
Collegedale Communication Strategist Bridgett Raper says the police chief had every right to sign the order – even without the commission’s knowledge.
“In fact any memorandum of understanding is an administrative function. In technicality he had every right to sign that,” says Bridgett Raper, Communication Strategist for Collegedale.
Raper says although the agreement had already been signed, Police Chief Hickman consulted with the city attorney and felt it was best to let the commission look at it, even though it did not have any monetary value.
Officials say having knowledge about citizens infected with the virus helps protect officers from potential infection amid this global pandemic – but this information must be kept confidential.
“It is just another added layer of protection for them. The mayor says she was very proud of them. She knows they have to keep this information confidential, they sign these confidentiality agreements when they are hired and this is not the only piece of information where they have to maintain that,” says Raper.
Officials will only have information from the current 30 days because the information will be routinely deleted.
The agreement will be discussed, and ratified if necessary, at the commission’s first meeting in June.