Travel Documents Show Police Chief Approvals That Never Happened

Approvals Came From Mayor's Chief Of Staff Instead

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - As the City Hall Scandal unfolded, Police Chief Steve Anderson insisted he never approved Sgt. Rob Forrest's travel with Nashville Mayor Megan Barry.

But documents released Friday by the Mayor's Office say he did.

Now, city officials are blaming a computer glitch for registering approvals by Chief Anderson that never occurred.

"Every travel request from a member of the Police Department is routed to him," said police spokesperson Don Aaron.

"These were not."

Since Barry's admission of a two-year affair with her police bodyguard, questions have surrounded the taxpayer-financed trips that Forrest took with her.

As NewsChannel 5 Investigates first revealed, in 2017, they flew to San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Denver, Washington several times, as well as New York.

In September, he flew with her to Athens, Greece.

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The next month, they flew to Paris -- all at taxpayer expense.

Among hundreds of pages of travel-related documents released by the Mayor's Office were travel authorization forms for Forrest's travel with the mayor.

At the bottom, the forms note: "Steve Anderson approved."

 

But the police spokesman, Don Aaron, said, "Chief Anderson never saw any of those."

Those questions led to an audit of the Metro computer system, documented in a memo obtained by NewsChannel 5 Investigates.

Keith Durbin, the head of Metro's Information Technology Services Department, concluded there was a problem with the computer system.

"After completing the investigation, ITS has concluded that due to a long undiscovered system flaw affecting an infrequent situation, Chief Anderson did not receive nor approve Sgt. Forrest's travel requests pursuant to protocol," Durbin wrote.

 

According to the memo, the travel for Forrest and other members of the mayor's security detail was approved by the mayor's chief of staff.

"Final approval was provided prematurely and incorrectly when the Mayor's Chief of Staff, Debby Dale Mason, provided what should have been intermediate approval prior to the Chief's approval," Durbin added.

"Chief Anderson should have been the ultimate approver of Sgt. Forrest's travel requests since Sgt. Forrest technically works for MNPD."

The police spokesperson noted that, given the fact that the mayor is the head of the city, the chief likely would have approved whatever she thought was necessary.

Still, Anderson never had a chance to have a say.

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