Metro Nashville Police officers are writing fewer traffic tickets, and the city loses about $50,000 a month because of it, according to WSMV.
“The trend began in August, not long after two key events: police lost their cost-of-living raises, and an officer became the subject of a TBI investigation after he shot and killed a man after a traffic stop,” the Nashville-based TV station reported.
MNPD statistics reveal traffic stops “declined dramatically from 2018 compared to 2017,” the station reported.
Nashville Fraternal Order of Police President James Smallwood reportedly told the station officers think twice before risking their lives and careers on a traffic stop.
“The News4 I-Team also found that the dramatic drop in traffic stops began in August, right after Mayor David Briley’s administration cut officers’ cost-of-living increases,” WSMV reported.
Smallwood said rescinded pay raises were only part of what is going on.
“According to Smallwood, police are under scrutiny like never before and Nashville officers are anxious right now because Nashville DA Glen Funk is currently prosecuting one of their fellow officers, Andrew Delke, for murder,” the station said.
Smallwood explained the officers’ trepidations this way:
“They’re reconsidering whether taking that proactive step is worth risking everything, their life and their livelihood, when you have a district attorney who says you’re training doesn’t count and we are going to indict you if you do this,” Smallwood told the station.
Smallwood also said members of the city’s new Community Oversight Board will place officers under even more intense scrutiny than before.
As The Tennessee Star reported this week, members of the Tennessee General Assembly want to place some guardrails on all of the state’s community oversight boards and announced new legislation designed to do just that.
Under the proposed bill, sponsored by State Rep. Michael Curcio, R-Dickson, a community oversight board in Tennessee would not have any power to issue subpoenas for documents or to compel witness testimony.
As The Star reported last year, Nashville Fraternal Order of the Police members said they have serious constitutional concerns about the board.
Former FOP President Robert Weaver said “this board is not set up for fact finding and truth finding. It appears this board is set up for some means of retaliation and retribution for a problem that doesn’t seem to exist.”
Metro Nashville Council member Steve Glover, meanwhile, said last year that the board could lead to officers feeling less valued and, as a result, they would resign.
“I’m not just talking about police. I am talking about first responders. Everyone. They will say bye because we apparently don’t appreciate them. I do appreciate them, but if we keep pushing and pushing and pushing as we are doing now then this is a dangerous place to go,” Glover said.
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