Eric Watson graduates in first TBI State Academy class
by DAVID DAVIS, Managing Editor
Oct 21, 2012 | 2756 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
State Rep. Eric Watson, fourth from left, poses for a picture with his parents, Richard and Glenda;  wife, Tenille; Benton Mayor Jerry Stephens and Benton Police Chief Rocky King. Watson graduated Friday morning from the first class of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation State Academy. Watson is a detective for the city of Benton.
State Rep. Eric Watson, fourth from left, poses for a picture with his parents, Richard and Glenda; wife, Tenille; Benton Mayor Jerry Stephens and Benton Police Chief Rocky King. Watson graduated Friday morning from the first class of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation State Academy. Watson is a detective for the city of Benton.
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State Rep. Eric Watson was among the inaugural class of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation State Academy that graduated Thursday in Nashville.

The academy is an intensive six-week training program in Bell Buckle at the Tennessee Fire Codes Academy. It is a professional and prestigious training ground for Tennessee law enforcement personnel to expand their education and training in the criminal justice field.

According to a press release issued by TBI, a select few law enforcement officers took part in the first official class.

While Watson chairs the House Judiciary Committee, he also has a long record as a member of law enforcement and continues to contribute as a commissioned detective for the city of Benton.

Benton Mayor Jerry Stephens said, “Rep. Watson has been a tremendous asset to the city. His professionalism, personality and outstanding character have been a valuable resource assisting in the law enforcement in the city. He tirelessly gives of himself to Polk County and is highly respected.“

The academy seeks to advance techniques, science, and strategy for the law enforcement community. Individuals are exposed to ethics for management, leadership, statement analysis, constitutional law, courtroom testimony and protocols, communications intelligence, undercover investigations, financial investigations, firearms competition, online investigations, sexting and computer intrusions, crime scene and search warrant practicals.

“This is a unique opportunity for those of us out there on the front lines of law enforcement to learn the latest techniques from the TBI,” Watson said.

“It’s been a great experience to grow professionally and to also meet some incredibly strong individuals who are committed to keeping our communities safe.”

Watson, who was elected class president, said during the graduation speech, “I have no doubt that the lessons I learned in this program will be ones I can use both with my professional law enforcement background and in the legislature.

“I commend the TBI for putting together such a useful course of study and encourage anyone in the law enforcement field to apply for this training,” he said.

He reminded his classmates that each time they pin that badge to their chests, they become protectors, counselors and role models who must hold themselves to a higher standard than most other professions require.

The potential to do good is available to you every time you pull a shift, he said. Minimal performance on duty is not be good enough. Law enforcement officers must constantly strive to be exceptional and most importantly — hold themselves above reproach.

“Some of the hardest choices you will face as a law enforcement officer will be ethical choices,” he continued.

“You will often make decisions that can profoundly affect people’s lives and their freedoms. That is an awesome responsibility, and one you don’t want to underestimate or take lightly.”

Because of Watson’s law enforcement background, he was recently appointed to co-chair the National Conference of State Legislatures Law and Criminal Justice Standing Committee.

NCSL is a lobbying force representing cities, counties and states interests before Congress, the White House, and federal agencies.