The Nashville Fraternal Order of Police has endorsed mayoral candidate John Cooper.
Cooper currently serves as an at-large Metro Council member.
Nashville Fraternal Order of Police President James Smallwood told The Tennessee Star Thursday that FOP members voted to endorse Cooper. Smallwood would not say how many people voted because FOP does not release that information.
“The reality is the members of the FOP are sent a ballot, and this is the result that we got,” Smallwood said.
“Cooper got that (vote), and we do what our membership tells us to do.”
The Star asked Smallwood about Nashville’s Community Oversight Board, a concept the FOP opposes.
“When he was in Council Cooper voted against it,” Smallwood said.
“When it came up for referendum I think he was supportive of it because he believes in accountability in all forms of government.”
According to this week’s Nashville Post, Cooper “voted last week against a property tax increase that would have boosted police pay, but the police union picked him over Mayor David Briley, state Rep. John Ray Clemmons and former professor Carol Swain, who secured a significant chunk of police union support in the 2018 special election.”
Cooper acknowledged the FOP endorsement in a press release, which The Post and various other news outlets ran.
“Policing is a difficult and noble profession and the rank and file should be treated fairly by their superiors, just as the citizenry at large deserve to be treated fairly,” Cooper said.
“It is the job of the mayor to set clear goals, provide the resources necessary, and hold people accountable for results. Even though the FOP lobbied for the recent property tax increase, their endorsement of me demonstrates belief in my financial management approach and leadership ability. I thank them for their service and their support.”
As reported this week, Cooper and Clemmons, when asked about youth violence, blamed poverty and said more access to after-school programs will help address the problem.
They said this at a mayoral debate.
Swain, however, had a different perspective.
“I think we need to work with families and inculcate values in our young people. The Restorative justice we hear so much about is political correctness and we are not telling our young people what they need to hear. Many young people who commit serious crimes are turned out and back home before the reports are even filed,” Swain said, adding she would work with parents, teachers and young people to address the problem.
“Too many judges are too liberal when it comes to holding young people accountable.”
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo” John Cooper” by John Cooper. Background Photo “Nashville Fraternal Order of Police” by Nashville Fraternal Order of Police.