Chief “Sorry” for Juvenile Arrests

In a public outcry, the community sought two specific actions in response to the April 15 arrests of 10 Murfreesboro elementary school students: an investigation and an apology.

They now have both.

“I am so saddened, and I’m so sorry this incident happened,” Murfreesboro Police Chief Karl Durr said, “because I truly think it could have been avoided.”

In an exclusive interview with The Tennessean, Durr expressed his concern over the outcomes in a case that has garnered attention nationwide and put a spotlight on police-community relations. The matter is before the Juvenile Court of Rutherford County. There are no plans to dismiss the charges at this point.

Durr reiterated that his department is now conducting an internal review of the arrest incident with three goals: 1) to determine if there are policies that have been violated by the department or if there is policy that is lacking, 2) to determine what training may need to be done as a result of what occurred, and 3) to determine if there has been any department misconduct in this case.

Durr said this is an opportunity to review the department’s handcuffing policy, which right now simply states an officer should “take into consideration” whether to handcuff a child under age 12. It also gives him a chance to work with community and school officials to develop guidelines for in-school arrests. In the future, he would like to see officers handle situations like this differently, not taking children out of school because it traumatizes both the child and his or her peers. Instead, he would like his officers to focus on community policing principles that respect and engage parents in the behavior of the child and how it can be fixed.

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