NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The Nashville Community Oversight Board is seeking public comment for a draft policy on use of force.
The draft report proposes six policy recommendations to Metro Police regarding use of force policies and procedures.
The board will be hosting a virtual public hearing on Wednesday from 5-6 p.m. to gain feedback on its latest draft report titled, "Policy Advisory Report on Use of Force Consent Decrees."
The board encourages community members and organizational leaders to share their perspective on use of force related policies in Nashville.
The Community Oversight Board is considering policy recommendations on use of force developed by the Metro Nashville Community Oversight, the support department for the COB. This policy advisory report was initiated by the COB following protests related to the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by police officers as well as a request from Nashville Mayor John Cooper to review Metro Nashville Police Department's use of force policies and procedures.
The policy advisory report examined use of force related consent decrees recommendations made by the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and compares Metro Police's policies to these recommendations.
The report proposes six policy recommendations to Metro Police regarding use of force policies and procedures.
- Metro Police should review policies, procedures, and trainings to ensure consistency between policies in the Manual and prohibitions that are covered in training. Actions that are against policy because of training should be explicitly stated as prohibited in the MNPD Manual.
- Metro Police should implement promotional and annual in-service supervisor training that focuses on conducting use of force investigations. This training should be in addition to the annual in-service training provided to all sworn officers. Recommended training topics include: conducting use of force investigations, strategies for effectively directing officers to minimize uses of force and to intervene effectively to prevent or stop unreasonable force, incident management, and supporting officers who report unreasonable or unreported force, or who are retaliated against for using only reasonable force or attempting to prevent unreasonable force.
- Metro Police should create a Crisis Intervention Team comprised of specially trained officers for response to crisis situations. The MNPD Manual should comprehensively outline policies, procedures, and roles related to the crisis intervention program, including situation-based guidance for officers responding to the scene of a crisis. Since a CIT will require a long-term implementation plan, MNPD should aim to create a budget-neutral plan for developing the program. If additional resources are needed, those should be detailed in a request to the Metro Council for the FY22 budget.
- Metro Police should categorize all use of force above unresisted handcuffing into three levels that will guide the reporting and investigation of the use of force.
- A Force Investigation Team should be created as a branch of the Office of Professional Accountability to investigate criminal and administrative aspects of uses of force resulting in serious injury, all firearm discharges, misapplications of force, and other serious uses of force as defined by the department. They should also investigate fatal uses of force for violations of administrative standards parallel to the TBI criminal investigation. The unit should receive specialized training in conducting use of force investigations into serious uses of force.
- Metro Police should track and analyze use of force data and create an annual use of force report that is available to the public. The analysis in this report should examine the relative frequency and type of force used by officers against individuals in specific demographic categories, examine MNPD's use of force over time, and identify and address and any trends that may warrant changes to policy, procedures, training, tactics, equipment, or practice.
The research team found that Metro Police already meets many of the use of force recommendations that are put forth by the Department of Justice in consent decrees from across the country. There are, however, several key recommendations regarding policies, procedures, training, and data analysis that the Community Oversight Board recommends that MNPD adopt.
By implementing these recommendations, the report said Metro Police can continue to ensure it is up to date with best practices in law enforcement. These recommendations are meant to help the department increase consistency between policies and training, implement more comprehensive supervisor specific training, develop a more specialized force investigation unit, develop a specialized crisis response team, and increase transparency regarding the reporting and tracking of use of force data.
The draft report can be found here.
Written comments should be sent by Wednesday to:
Metro Nashville Community Oversight
222 2nd Ave. N., Suite 370-M
Nashville, TN 37201
Comments can be emailed to email@example.com.
To call in during the public hearing, call 629-255-1907. To leave a recorded message to be played during the public hearing, call 629-255-1906.