NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — As the population in Nashville continues to grow so does the need for public safety.
In the mayor's capital spending plan he is asking the council to pass legislation to begin the construction of a ninth police precinct in Southeast Nashville.
"In surveying our growth, in particular in Southeast this is a great thing, and I hope it allows our police officers to get there quicker do you have a better level of service," said Mayor John Cooper. "But yes, 24 to 30 months from now we will have that precinct operational."
Cooper is asking that $15 million is approved for a ninth police precinct in Southeast Nashville.
Right now, the South and Hermitage precincts cover calls in this area. But those two precincts are responsible for a total of 160 square miles.
Cooper says by shrinking the South and Hermitage zones, Metro Police can respond more quickly to Antioch-area calls and have officers closer to the people they serve.
"I think with Chief Drake our clearance rate is going to go up in solving crimes, I think it already has but we need to create a good platform for quick service to our community and that's part of this southeast precinct need," said Cooper.
In a statement, Chief John Drake says now is the time.
“A new Southeast Precinct will greatly complement the police department’s mission to work closely and collaboratively with neighborhoods to address specific problems and concerns,” said Chief John Drake. “Currently Southeast Nashville, one of Davidson County’s fastest growing areas, is covered by the South Precinct, which is responsible for 70 square miles, and the Hermitage Precinct, which is responsible for 90 square miles. A new Southeast Precinct would reduce the size of the South and Hermitage Precincts, allowing those commanders, as well as the new commander of the 9th precinct, to focus even more narrowly on crime and quality of life issues. I am grateful to Mayor Cooper for his support of public safety in our city.”
In 2019, Metro Police officers responded to more than 238,000 calls for help and or service in the area.
Councilmember Tanaka Vercher has been fighting for years to increase public safety in her Antioch district.
"Right now you have neighbors saying I'm only going to go to certain stores during certain hours because I don't feel safe; that's one part of it the second part of it is but this will reestablish public confidence in the safety services we provide for our community," Vercher said.
She's been advocating for a ninth police precinct for years.
"We're draining, we're draining public safety resources from other areas because we have such a high need," said Vercher.
If approved, the Metro government already has a location at 2491 Murfreesboro Pike.
It's a 20,000-square foot precinct there could include community meeting space, for engagements like community meetings with Metro Council members, as well as Neighborhood Watch and other community groups.