MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Gov. Bill Lee is making a new pitch to entice out-of-state law enforcement officers to move to Tennessee: “We won’t get between you and your doctor.”
Lee and the state’s Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Jeff Long announced a new effort Wednesday to convince law enforcement officers who are leaving states with “restrictive mandates” that the Tennessee Highway Patrol is where they should move.
The state did specify whether those mandates referred to COVID-19 vaccinations or masks, but Lee has fought federal vaccine mandates and last week signed a sweeping package of laws related to COVID-19.
“I’ve got a message today for cops in New York all the way to sheriff deputies out in Los Angeles: We want you to join the Tennessee Highway Patrol,” the governor says in an ad running on YouTube.
“Our force is one of the most professional in the country, and we won’t get between you and your doctor. We believe you’d be a great fit for our state and will help cover your moving expenses,” Lee says.
He also plays up the state’s low cost of living and lack of income tax, and promises to “make sure your freedoms are protected.”
The new state law signed Friday strips power from local health agencies, public schools and some private businesses by banning them from requiring vaccinations from their employees. It will also allow workers who quit a job because of a vaccine mandate to collect unemployment, and prevents health departments from requiring masks.
In Memphis, city and county leaders have been pushing the state to add more troopers to Memphis-area interstates after more than 100 road-rage shootings this year. The Memphis district is set to get four more troopers in 2022.