Nashville Police Fear Loss of Rights Under New Civilian Oversight Board

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In a referendum Tuesday, Nashville voters approved a civilian oversight board over police.

One day after the vote, Nashville Fraternal Order of Police President James Smallwood said in an emailed statement it’s important this coming board not exclude the perspectives of law enforcement officers.

“Although the FOP still believes that an expensive oversight board is an unnecessary redundancy that we simply cannot afford – we intend to work with the administration as it seeks to implement the amendment in the coming months,” Smallwood said.

“While it is our intention to respect the rule of law and work with the administration as they implement this new legislation, we fully intend to stand alongside our members and ensure that their rights are preserved. They deserve nothing less.”

City officials will create the board.

As reported, FOP members previously said they have serious constitutional concerns over it. They said the $10 million plan is “constitutionally questionable,” doesn’t address due process, and is not set up for fact finding.

They’ve even said the board is “set up for some means of retaliation and retribution for a problem that doesn’t exist.”

“We fully intend to stand alongside our members and ensure that their rights are preserved, they deserve nothing less,” Smallwood said.

“The men and women of the MNPD are professional and are held to one of the highest levels of accountability in the nation.”

FOP members, Smallwood went on to say, recognize there are is a segment of the community that wants to have better trust in law enforcement — and FOP members will work to make that happen.

Without the oversight board, FOP members previously told The Star, people can already file complaints with an officer’s supervisor, the district attorney’s office, the US attorney’s office, or the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and even the FBI.

If they so choose, they could even go through the civil courts, FOP members added.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to





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2 Thoughts to “Nashville Police Fear Loss of Rights Under New Civilian Oversight Board”

  1. Traditional Thinker

    Maybe if the police would go on strike for about a month, those who have the luxury of not putting their lives on the line each day would sing a different tune when all hell breaks loose and there’s no one showing up to serve and protect them. How about over seeing your kids a little better instead of the police. In a city where there’s practically a murder each night, I would think real hard about restraining or blaming those who work tirelessly to save lives.

  2. Jose Reva

    BLM is not in charge of the Nashville Police Department.