Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – Leahy was joined in studio by all-star panelist, Norm Partin to discuss the recent resignation of Metro Nashville Community Oversight Committee (MNCO) Executive Director William Weeden.
During the segment, Partin explained how Nashville voters voted for one thing with the community oversight board and ended up getting an “expanded” version that reflects back on police activities for 18 years. Partin also pointed out that this is not productive for a city that’s already broke and added if he were to be executive director of the board, he would focus on today and forward.
Leahy: So here’s the thing. However, voters in Nashville Davidson County voted to establish this board. And immediately after it was constituted they seemed to have expanded their mission. Sort of search and destroy for anything that any police have done in the past 18 years that wasn’t exactly perfect. That’s what it seems like to me.
Partin: Well, here’s what their theory is. It’s that Nashville’s in the wrong direction as far as police.
Leahy: Well, I think probably a lot of people would agree with that. But not the wrong direction that they’re not supporting the police. Yeah!
Partin: But you know they want to establish a pattern. Well as you know 18 years ago, 10 years ago, different circumstances. Different police chief. Different, Everything’s different. And in Nashville, 10 years ago. Now as a native, if we could go back 10 years ago you wouldn’t recognize the city now.
Leahy: No, you would not.
Partin: So to look to the past is the biggest mistake that they ever came up with.
Leahy: And I don’t think that’s in the charter that was passed by the voters. They’re supposed to be looking going forward.
Partin: Well, they’re justifying themselves by saying, “Hey back in 2003 this happened.” Well, so what! What happened in 2003 and does it really matter today?
Leahy: So the voters voted to set up the community oversight board. There’s what, 12 members of the board appointed, blessed by the metro council?
Partin: There is a paid staff.
Leahy: There are members of the board and paid staff.
Partin: And a paid staff.
Leahy: What, 5 million dollars a year.
Partin: Out of taxpayers’ pockets.
Leahy: For a city that’s going broke.
Partin: No, no, no. You are wrong there. We are broke! Going happened about eight years ago.
Leahy: So last night this news comes across at the executive director, William Weeden of the community oversight board late Monday resigned effective immediately. He hasn’t been in the job for a year. Not even a year. They brought him in from Chicago because he’s something special. Well, not anymore.
The story at NPR here, the WPLN, Weeden and metro police chief Steve Anderson have repeatedly butted heads during closed-door talks. That hostility came to light in a series of emails published on the community oversight website. What’s really going on here norm?
Partin: Excuse me, I forget to press buttons. You said the underlying. To every story, there’s a back story.
Leahy: What’s the back story Norm?
Partin: And there are sides to the back story. Nashville made a huge mistake by saying we want a community review board.
Leahy: But the voters voted for it.
Partin: Yes, they made a huge mistake.
Leahy: I agree.
Partin: That’s a big term and it was not defined.
Leahy: Was it? Was it not defined? Or have they expanded that definition?
Partin: That’s what I’m getting at.
Leahy: They defined it as one thing and the board went in the direction of another. So there’s what, 12 members on the board? And they have a staff. And they pay 5 million bucks. The broke city is paying 5 million bucks for a board of a bunch of lefties that hate the police and want to go out and get them for stuff that happened 15 years ago. That’s what it seems to me.
Partin: Establishing a trend that Nashville is wrong.
Leahy: Big bad Nashville police.
Partin: And then the chief comes in and says we want all these records. I read this and it’s hard to believe but if they printed everything that they wanted to review it would take one person reading that more than a year and a half to read every page. Well, buried…
Leahy: Just what I want to do. (Laughs)
Partin: Is that the most productive use of your time?
Leahy: The answer, no.
Partin: No. And one thing the government has a bad habit of doing is not looking at unintended consequences. So when you profile…
Leahy: Let’s say Democrats are very good at it.
Partin: Everybody’s guilty. Here’s the thing, let’s look at what our city is today in policing. We have a police officer coming to trial that our DEA called him a murderer. Morale in the police department is so low that they can’t keep officers.
Leahy: They need more officers. The officers want to get out of Nashville. They want to move to the surrounding areas.
Partin: If I’m the chief of police and the review board and the mayor I ask the question “what do we do as a city in Nashville to have officers lined up wanting to come here?” The fire department, EMT, police. What do we have to do to do that? That’s your first issue.
Leahy: But that’s not the way they’ve defined their mission.
Partin: Right. The board is trying to fix something that happened 15 years ago.
Leahy: By the way, is there anybody on that board who’s not a left-wing social justice Democrat?
Partin: There is a couple of law enforcement people on there but they’re overweighed. I would love to have that job.
Leahy: No? Really?
Partin: Oh yes.
Leahy: Now, what job are you talking about? So call in. Would you nominate Norm Partin to be the new executive director of the community oversight board?
Partin: Yeah. I’d do that in a heartbeat.
Leahy: What would you do if you’re the new director? Tell us what your mission would be. By the way, I would vote for you. But I think doesn’t the board select? Who selects the new executive director?
Partin: You know, I do not know that. I think the mayor and council.
Leahy: The mayor and council would pick the new executive director?
Leahy: I like this idea. What would Norm Partin do as executive director of the community oversight board?
Partin: What happened in 2018 and back is irrelevant. That’s the first thing.
Leahy: So you would be looking forward.
Partin: You’re looking at today.
Leahy: Today and forward. All this going backward you’d stop?
Partin: You can’t. You can’t. You and I can’t go back to high school and start all over again.
Leahy: This is a very good idea. I’m all in favor of this. I think you’d do a great job.
Partin: I would completely put the board asleep until cameras are on officers. That’s exactly what I would do. We have nothing to work with until we have cameras. The city can’t buy them now. Here are the unintended consequences. You go by the cameras, that’s great. But you have to have a legal system to protect the video. Because that’s my civil rights that are involved if I’m on that camera. All of that storage. All of the security.
Leahy: It’s very expensive.
Partin: It’s more expensive, the cameras are the cheapest part.
Leahy: The system itself to guarantee the rights of not only the suspects but the police officers involved.
Partin: The police officers yes.
Leahy: That system is going to be extraordinarily expensive.
Partin: You take a complaint today and you have a system to go through and you interview the officer. And you do a report card list that the officer, here’s his grades down the list. And then the citizen here’s their updates down a list. And you grade that and you report to the city. You don’t go to the police chief. Your report to the city, here’s what we found.
Leahy: Not to the police chief but to the city.
Partin: You make this public.
Leahy: But Norm. Now I would be in favor of you being the new executive director. How would the board members feel? Would they say, it’s Norm Partin! He loves the police. We don’t want him. That’s what they’d say right?
Partin: I would be very similar to Davey at the Alamo. (Leahy laughs)
Listen to the second hour here:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 am to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “William Weeden” by William Weeden. Background Photo “Nashville City Hall” by Nicolas Henderson. CC BY 2.0.