Nominations to serve on Nashville’s new police oversight board are due in two weeks.
While a handful of people have come forward, numerous community groups plan to submit more names, and across a wide spectrum, Nashville Public Radio says.
Several organizations that fought to create the board say they’re preparing nominees, and if there are dozens of names, the Metro Council could hold special meetings to vet them before voting in an 11-person panel before the end of January.
“If there are a lot of names, then we will figure out how to winnow that down,” said Theeda Murphy with Community Oversight Now, which advocated for the board’s creation.
But even opponents, like the Fraternal Order of Police, are considering who could represent their views. President James Smallwood acknowledged that the board doesn’t allow current law enforcement to serve.
“Former law enforcement, people that understand the law — so those would be attorneys — people that are or have been exposed to the way that officers are trained,” Smallwood said.
One day after the vote, Smallwood said in an emailed statement it’s important this coming board not exclude the perspectives of law enforcement officers, The Tennessee Star reported.
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.”
“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.
There’s also interest from groups that have not been directly involved in forming the board, Nashville Public Radio said. The nonprofit You Have The Power, which aids victims of crime, didn’t take a side in the election but is interested now.
Some individuals have applied, from an IT worker to a lawyer to a former owner of an independent bookstore.
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.