As some Nashvillians prepare for more protests Thursday night, Mayor John Cooper is facing renewed pressure to reassess his approach to equity and safety.
The mayor is responding to demands from some city officials and community members — as well as former President Barack Obama’s national town hall calling for mayors to introduce limits on police use of force.
Among other things, the mayor is being asked to examine current police use-of-force policies, listen to the experiences of the various stakeholders, create a public report and enact reform accordingly.
Cooper says city officials will review the Metro Nashville Police Department’s use-of-force policy and report its findings to the community for feedback.
“Nashville can set a new standard in policing,” he says. “I’m hopeful that this collaborative effort will bring further reconciliation as we all work together to address racial injustice in our community.”
Some national advocacy organizations have already compiled use-of-force data on current local policies.
“We’re a good police department and we have good policies,” MNPD Police Chief Steve Anderson says. “All of those are subject to review at any time. We certainly welcome any criticism and any advice on what we could do better.”
Cooper stopped short of committing to more police body cameras and following a Metro Council Minority Caucus recommendation that the city hire a chief diversity officer, saying the city is already trying to recover from a tornado and the COVID-19 pandemic on a tight budget.
“Everyone recognizes that this budget is not accomplishing what we all went into local government trying to do,” Cooper says. “Unfortunately, this budget is to get us through COVID with the dramatic loss in revenue.”