Off-Duty Status

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There is no statute or rule of law in this state that places a mandatory duty upon police officers to keep the peace when "off duty."  “To the contrary, when officers are ‘off duty,’ our statutes generally treat the officer as an ordinary private citizen and not as an agent or employee of the municipal police department under a general duty to keep the peace.” White v. Revco Discount Drug Centers, Inc., 33 S.W.3d 713, 720-721 (Tenn. 2000). “Of course, to say that officers do not continuously function in an official capacity is not to say that off-duty officers are prevented from assuming a duty to remedy a breach of the peace, or that officers are incapable of being summoned to official duty by the municipality. Nevertheless, it is clear that officers are not under a general duty to enforce the law while ‘off duty,’ and a blanket rule declaring that police officers are under a never-ending duty to keep the peace is contrary to existing Tennessee law.” Id. at 721.