MNPD interim chief discusses police reform in virtual town hall meeting

Posted at 10:40 PM, Sep 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-28 23:54:50-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — From no-knock warrants to more money for crisis intervention - Metro Nashville Acting Police Chief John Drake spoke addressed many issues during a town hall meeting about police reform.

The virtual town hall meeting was hosted by Mt. Zion Baptist Church Monday night. Protests in Music City, around the state and across the country have not gone unnoticed.

Activists have called for changes like defunding the police and a review of excessive force. And both were topics Drake touched on.

"We’re about 15011 authorize police officers, we’re 80 officers short. So if we defund the police then you will have to look at cutting personnel," said Drake, "Even if we were fully staffed, we will still be 200 to 300 officers short to make this city safe. Calling to defund the police, I don’t really advocate for that; I defend that we need more."

Drake says he would love to see more funding go to crisis intervention, youth crime and homeless programs.

The chief says he's already working closely with the city's Community oversight board about a Memorandum of Understanding, which was approved earlier this year and he plans to sign.

"I 100% believe in giving them the ability to do their investigations and one, they have to have that MOU, they have to have that access to records."

He also discussed no-knock warrants.

"I don’t see any reason why I would authorize one right now unless it was a serial killer that had hostages in a house and we had to get in to save people," said Drake, "I just don’t believe in no-knock warrants, they’re too dangerous."

Mt. Zion Bishop Joseph Walker says these are conversations that should be followed by actions.

"We’re here to represent our people, we’re here to say look our people are angry, they are frustrated, they want to see some real results and it’s our responsibility to keep pushing that," said Walker.

Drake says he is already revamping and re-imagining the department for not just the citizens but his officers as well.

From a more diverse department to a safe department. It's a move the community can get behind.

"I just felt the importance of taking the lead on this and saying, listen we got to do more than just cry out loud; we really have to have serious and substantive conversations," said Walker.

Drake has expressed interest in becoming the chief permanently. He says if he gets the position he will push for better background checks on applicants.