State agency launches four investigations into accused ‘imposter cops’

State Rep. Bill Beck called for legislative action just before his death in wake of WSMV4′s “Thin Blurred Line” investigations.
WSMV4 Investigates' Jeremy Finely reports.
Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 6:34 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - A state agency has launched four separate investigations following a series of reporting from WSMV4 Investigates that exposed how people were not state-certified law enforcement but wore identification showing themselves as police.

The four investigations center around the four people we identified in our reporting as wearing police badges and vests, but not are licensed by the state to be officers.

Our reporting also found the four are all former or current employees of the security company Solaren, which we also found is linked to an embattled police department whose chief and assistant chief were also found to be uncertified law enforcement.

Tennessee Protective Services, a program within the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance and regulates security guards, opened the four investigations.

Before his unexpected death on June 5, Rep, Bill Beck, D-Nashville, interviewed with WSMV4 Investigates after seeing our stories and believes the public is being deceived.

“We cannot allow this to continue,” Beck said. “If they’re walking down the streets - and they’re being attacked, they look over and see police and they think they’re going to help them.”

WSMV4 Investigates obtained details of the state agency’s investigation, including an email from another security company whose owner wrote to the state, “We have been hearing about Solaren Risk Management hiring guys who are not law enforcement officers for some time now. The patch has the word “police’ with their security company name, making it appear that they are a law enforcement agency.”

Michael Henderlight, the assistant police chief of Watertown, responded in an email to the state about Chris Tubbs, a former reserve officer of the town.

WSMV4 found photos of Tubbs wearing police identification but is not state certified.

Henderlight wrote that Tubbs resigned after his “inability to complete the academy,” and added, “I have since had many concerns about him wearing police equipment.”

Beck told WSMV4 Investigates before his death that the legislature must not examine if people have found a gray area in the law, thinking that they can wear police identification but not be certified.

“No doubt that somebody has learned that they go can into this gray area and have these people who are not POST certified on the streets of Nashville,” Beck said.

WSMV4 Investigates did reach out to Byrd and his attorney for comment but did not hear back by our deadline.

Given Beck’s unexpected death, it is unclear if any legislative action will occur, but WSMV4 Investigates will continue to.

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