Metro PD adds officers to address response times - WSMV News 4

Metro PD adds officers to address response times

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(WSMV file photo) (WSMV file photo)

Changes are being made one year after the Channel 4 I-Team exposed how long it can take Metro police to respond to home burglaries.

Last week, Metro Council approved the hiring of 70 additional police officers. This is the first time in several years this many officers have been approved at one time.

Last year, the I-Team reported how in some cases it was taking police one hour to respond to residential burglary calls. By adding 70 new officers, council members hope to decrease response times significantly.

When an alarm goes off, victims believe police will get to them as quickly as possible.

But last year the I-Team uncovered 142 cases over a one-year period where police took longer than one hour to show up.

When he saw those numbers, Metro Councilman Steve Glover knew changes needed to be made.

“What do these numbers show you?” the I-Team asked.

“It shows me that we probably need more staff with our police,” said Glover during an interview last year.

And one year later that's exactly what's happening. Metro Council approved 70 new officers at a cost of $4 million a year in this year’s budget, the most ever approved.

Last year, the department only received nine new officers. Glover said he had no idea how long response times were until the I-Team told him.

“It did help put some light on an issue, and it allowed me and some others in the council to start pushing and saying, ‘look, we need to make sure we've covering all of these bases,’” Glover said.

“All eight precincts will see a growth in manpower and officer strength as a results of the 70 new officers,” he added.

Those 70 officers now make up the largest Metro police force ever at more than 1,500 officers.

"They will be used to reduce response time and will also be used to start a walking patrol in certain parts of Nashville,” said Metro police spokesman Don Aaron.

But Glover has an additional worry.

“Now the concern I have is it doesn't look like they have the equipment to go out and do their job. Cars are broken down and motorcycles are not working right,” he said.

The I-Team found 28 patrol cars are out because of wrecks and major mechanical failures. But a police spokesperson said every officer who needs a car has one, even if it's a loaner.

Glover said whatever police need, the city needs to fund.

"We have things occurring in Nashville that was not occurring a few years ago. We need to be investing in our public safety personnel to make sure we accommodate the people moving into Nashville,” he said.

The new officers will go through six to eight months of training and then get assigned to one of the eight precincts. In the meantime, Metro police say they are hoping to also open up a ninth precinct sometime in the near future.

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