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Troopers with political connections win promotions

Brad Schrade of The Tennessean analyzed three years of the patrol's promotions and proposed promotions to show that two-thirds of Tennessee Highway Patrol officers tapped for promotion under Gov. Phil Bredesen gave money to his campaign or had family or political patrons who did. Among those with such connections, more than half were promoted over troopers who scored better on impartial exams or rankings. "Sixty-two of the promoted officers — 49 percent — contributed or had close family members who contributed to the governor's campaign before they were promoted ". The newspaper demonstrated how the THP is using a promotions loophole to let lesser-qualified candidates advance, a practice now being reviewed by the state personnel department in response to the newspaper's investigation. See web extras which include previous highway patrol coverage, documents online, and a 1966 Tennessean story reproduced to show the history of politics in the Highway Patrol.

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