Nashville Mayor Megan Barry took her lover/police guard on far more trips, and on longer journeys, than her previous two predecessors, multiple media outlets report.
NewsChannel 5 broke the story Wednesday of Barry’s years-long affair with the former head of her security detail, Metro Police Sgt. Rob Forrest, who abruptly announced his retirement after 31 years with the department. Forrest traveled with Barry across the U.S. as well as Greece and Paris.
District Attorney Glenn Funk asked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to look for any potential criminal wrongdoing by Barry.
NewsChannel 5 on Thursday interviewed former Mayor Bill Purcell. He said Forrest joined another officer on the mayoral security detail after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. One officer would drive with him to events “in the city of Nashville, primarily,” while the other would drive separately.
Purcell was asked if Forrest traveled with him outside the city. Purcell said one or both would travel with him around the region, but he does not recall them accompanying him out of the state.
Former Mayor Karl Dean told The Tennessean Thursday his security detail joined him when he drove to a location like Louisville or Little Rock, but not when he flew somewhere like Japan.
Forrest earned $75,462 in overtime during the 2016-17 fiscal year, according to records provided by Metro, The Tennessean/USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee reported. He earned only $31,748 during the 2013-14 financial year, when Dean was mayor. He took at least nine trips as the only Metro employee accompanying Barry, the newspaper reported.
That raises the question: Did Barry change the security policy when she assumed office? NewsChannel 5 said the affair began shortly after her election.
“When I came into office, the (police) chief said that you are always the mayor and you should be secured appropriately,” Barry told The Tennessean in the same story where Dean was interviewed. “It was definitely the recommendation of the police that I should have (a) detail.”
Mayoral security arrangements vary by city, The Tennessean reported. Charlotte, North Carolina’s executive does not travel with guards, while the mayor of Fort Worth, Texas, takes a police officer on official trips.