The Community Oversight Board says it hopes to finalize a new agreement with the Metro Nashville Police Department by the end of this week.
This is the second round of negotiations between MNPD and the new civilian-led board that oversees it. But, unlike last year’s heated talks, board member Phyllis Hildreth says both sides are on the same page this time around.
“We have come down to the point where it is simply tightening the four corners of the document — dotting i’s, crossing t’s, going back in maybe three places where language was unclear,” she says.
Hildreth has served as the primary negotiator for the board. She says her main concerns are ensuring that the document empowers oversight staff to conduct their research and investigations and that it also honors the priorities of both board members and the Nashvillians who voted the group into existence.
The memorandum of understanding lays out the specifics of the agency’s power, including when staff can enter crime scenes and how they’ll be notified if police kill someone. The original agreement between the two departments, which was signed in January, has fallen short in many cases, including disputes over police records.
Board members decided to update the document this summer, to resolve those issues. The executive committee expects to approve a final draft at its next meeting.
Samantha Max is a Report for America corps member.