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5 finalists in Metro police chief search interview with Policing Policy Commission

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Posted at 12:00 PM, Oct 29, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Five finalists vying to become Metro Nashville's next chief of police are in Nashville this week as the search moves into the final phases.

On Thursday, each candidate sat down for a question and answer session with Policing Policy Commission co-chair Dwight Lewis.

Metro said 57 people applied for the position. Of those, the following people were selected by Metro Human Resources and a search review committee:

  • John Drake
  • Troy Gay
  • Darryl McSwain
  • Larry Scirotto
  • Kristen Ziman

Click here to read more about each candidate.

The city aired a recording of each session on Thursday afternoon. The candidates appeared in the following order: Kristen Ziman, Troy Gay, Darryl McSwain, John Drake and Larry Scirotto.

Watch Thursday's question and answer sessions below:

Between the five candidates remaining is more than 115 years of law enforcement experience and during these interviews, they were asked to explain what they’ve done to make a difference in their communities.

The questions were all the same, but while some focused on general community policing, others were more targeted to issues particular to Nashville.

Kristen Zitman is the current chief of police with the Aurora Police Department and the only remaining female candidate. She says she was well aware, “that there is a distrust in the community, especially in our underrepresented communities.”

Each candidate had their own take, but for many including Zitman, they say you must offer trust if you hope to gain trust in return.

“My position is that we embrace our differences and we understand that our police department serves all people, not just the majority of people, but all people,” Zitman said.

Candidates say creating diversity on the force and in leadership roles, can help make a difference in changing the culture of policing.

“I believe that a diverse organization is a just organization. Which in the community’s eyes will be a legitimate organization,” candidate Larry Scirotto said.

Candidate Darryl McSwain says his track record for inclusion makes him the best choice.

“By the time I left the agency, our training academy had seen 54 percent of the applicants were either women or people of color,” McSwain said.

Former Chief of Police Steve Anderson retired in August. Deputy Chief John Drake, who's also applying for the position, has since assumed command of the department.

The mayor announced his plan for a nationwide search to fill the position, which has included community input through HubNashville. The Community Oversight Board also held town hall meetings with the community to get Nashvillians' input.