Voters in Davidson County have approved a Community Oversight Board to investigate allegations of misconduct against the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, according to a NewsChannel 5 projection.
“I have great respect for the citizens of Nashville and their election decisions. I look forward to continuing to work with families across Nashville to make our city as safe as possible," Police Chief Steve Anderson said on Wednesday.
Nashville Mayor David Briley released a statement after hearing the news:
“The people of Nashville have spoken. As I’ve said all along, I will support this amendment, and I will start by meeting with involved parties as early as next week. I have always asserted that civilian oversight is essential to ensuring that we have a 21st-century approach to policing. Thankfully best practices exist to help us chart a path forward, and I will do all I can to help ensure the Community Oversight Board is successful.”
The Fraternal Order of Police released the following statement after results came in:
"Today, after months of public debate, the voters of Nashville have made their decision to implement a civilian oversight board of the police. While the Fraternal Order of Police remains firm in its belief that this board will only create a divide between law enforcement and the public, we recognize that the voters have spoken, and we will respect the rule of law and the will of the people we serve.
The endorsement of Amendment one to create an oversight board does nothing to undermine the professionalism that Nashvillians have come to know from their police officers and – although the FOP still believes that an expensive oversight board is an unnecessary redundancy that we simply cannot afford – we intend to work with the administration as it seeks to implement the amendment in the coming months. Excluding the perspective of those who are on the front lines every day would do a disservice to both our members and the community at large.
However, we, like thousands of Nashville voters, have very sincere concerns about the many flaws that exist in the language of this legislation as written. While it is our intention to respect the rule of law and work with the administration as they implement this new legislation, we fully intend to stand alongside our members and ensure that their rights are preserved, they deserve nothing less. The men and women of the MNPD are professional and are held to one of the highest levels of accountability in the nation. Today’s results do not reflect otherwise. Nor do they alter the fact that these men and women will continue to put their lives in harm’s way to serve the entire Nashville community.
Moving forward, the Fraternal Order of Police recognizes that there is a segment of the community that seeks to improve trust in the police. As law enforcement officers, and members of this community, we will endeavor to find a way to improve those relationships and to help us work together, with ALL our communities, to achieve a safe and peaceful Nashville for everyone. We look forward to future discussions about policing strategies in Nashville and hope that, through sincere and meaningful dialogue, we can continue to accomplish the goals that will bring us closer together as a community."
The board’s purpose is to investigate alleged police misconduct.
The 11-member board would consist of those who would serve three-year terms without compensation. Seven of the board members will be people nominated by community organizations.
Under the amendment to Metro's Charter, those members could not be current law enforcement employees or have served in a law enforcement capacity in the past five years.
Board members "must have a demonstrated knowledge of issues pertaining to civil rights and equity and have experience with criminal justice and policing matters. Board members would also be required to complete training at MNPD's Citizen Police Academy or something similar.
The Community Oversight Board would also request a budget of no less than $1.5 million a year to help pay for support staff, research analysts and a legal advisor.
However, the FOP is still appealing the ruling of the Davidson County Circuit Court judge who said Community Oversight Now got enough signatures to appear on the ballot.
While the Tennessee Supreme Court declined to fast-track the case and hear the appeal before Election Day, the FOP says the case still will go through the traditional appeals process at its regular pace. That means if the Tennessee Court of Appeals or the Tennessee Supreme Court eventually sides with the FOP in court, the results from tonight's Community Oversight referendum will be thrown out.