Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson will retire in likely six months’ time.
Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced this at a press conference Thursday — a conference that Anderson did not attend.
Time after time, reporters asked Cooper if he asked Anderson to retire.
Cooper did not seem to answer their questions, at least not directly.
“There will be a national search to find a successor, which will exclude internal candidates. We need to find the best chief for Nashville. Those experienced with these kinds of national searches tell me that at least six months can be an appropriate time frame to expect a search to be concluded,” Cooper said.
“As per civil service rules, I will have a committee to assist me with the search process. Nashville will host a major national event in October with the presidential debate at Belmont, and I am asking the chief to guide our city through that challenge. I am grateful to the chief for providing continuity and a smooth transition.”
The first reporter asked Cooper if he asked Anderson to retire.
Yes, I think it is the right decision for the city at this time, and the chief specifically wanted me to announce it. He’s engaged in 45 years of service to the community and that service requirement, I think that expectation is for the chief executive of the county to make that decision and we have. We have together.
I have enjoyed getting to know the chief. He has kindly lent me books and most recently, I feel we have a great relationship, but, as I have frequently said to the chief, we’re going to have a new chief. The question is when and how to do it well. He has had a long career. We need both the best policies and the best personnel going forward. We were always going to need that, and we’re going to get that.
Then another reporter asked the same question — and whether left-wing activists played a part?
Cooper said no, and that “people, at a certain age, do retire.”
“People would like to twist that in different directions, conceivably, but people are allowed to retire. I actually think the chief’s contribution to the city in the months ahead may be the greatest that he’s offered to the city as we have a smooth transition and we enact policies that are deeply committed to by all the elements of the community,” Cooper said.
“People are allowed to retire, and I think it’s best for Nashville to understand that, with the chief’s help, the opportunity that gives us to have a new era — all cities to have a new era — in how we do things. My own election, last year, I feel was part of the city embracing a new era. This is not going to be the only area in Nashville government that is going to have changes.”
As The Star reported last week, members of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee also called on Anderson to resign.
In particular, ACLU members expressed frustration with Anderson’s alleged refusal to collaborate with the Community Oversight Board, which was established in 2018. This, after the deaths of Jocques Clemmons and Daniel Hambrick. The board has independent authority to investigate allegations of misconduct against the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department.
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