Metro Nashville’s Community Oversight Board (COB) wants the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) to prioritize diversity when hiring. This came out of an advisory report focused on reforming MNPD hiring procedures, requested by the Nashville NAACP. In the conclusion of its report, the COB insinuated it wasn’t enough for MNPD’s current standards to hire applicants who are critical thinkers, empathetic, problem solvers, good communicators, and have integrity. They recommended that MNPD prioritize diversity more.
“The data analysis in this report shows that there are racial, ethnic, and gender disparities in the hiring process that should be evaluated and addressed so that the goal of diversifying the police force can become a reality,” read the report’s conclusion. “The eleven recommendations offered in this report aim to encourage community, transparency, accountability, equity, justice, and evidence as core components of the police department.”
These recommendations include: increasing diversity amongst hiring officers, investigating hiring officers who turn away demographic groups, and determining if applicants have any discriminatory attitudes or behaviors. Additionally, the report recommended MNPD modify its physical testing requirements to rectify gender and racial disparities, as well as allow individuals without law enforcement experience to serve as background investigators.
In the report, the COB also unveiled five pillars they said were critical for police oversight: justice, accountability, transparency, evidence, and equity. Equality wasn’t mentioned.
Here are the eleven recommendations:
- The Personal History Statement should include law-enforcement specific questions for applicants who have been law enforcement officials in another jurisdiction. This should include questions about unnecessary use of force, bias-based policing, and any disciplinary actions.
- Question #99 of the Personal History Statement asking whether applicants have a prejudice that will impact their job performance should be changed to a series of questions focused on discriminatory attitudes and behaviors.
- MNPD should evaluate reasons for Civil Service Testing no-shows through surveys and interviews with individuals who did not show up to testing. When impediments are identified, changes to the process should be considered and, if made, an evaluation plan should be in place to assess whether the change was effective. MNPD should aim to have at least 50 percent of invited applicants to take the Civil Service Tests.
- MNPD should publicly release their planned evaluation report focusing on whether changing the physical agility section of the Civil Service Test reduces gender and racial disparities in attending and passing the test.
- MNPD should work to increase the diversity of the Recruitment Section’s background investigators.
- MNPD should review, at least annually, the demographics of applicants that have been assigned to background investigators and the number of disqualifications resulting from each investigator to identify potential biases. One investigator having higher disqualification rates for a specific demographic group than other investigators does not necessarily indicate bias, but it suggests that an in-depth audit is needed.
- The Recruitment Section’s SOPs [Standard Operating Procedures] should address the timing of the social media review in the hiring process and the procedures used by MNPD personnel for reviewing social media content. This should include a standard solicitation process regarding applicant social media information. Applicants who refuse to supply access to social media accounts should be disqualified from the hiring process.
- SOPs should require that if an applicant is the subject of a criminal investigation after review by the DCOP [Deputy Chief of Police] Panel – regardless of the investigation’s outcome – the DCOP Panel must review the incident in the context of the applicant’s full background investigation and re-vote on the applicant’s qualification status.
- MNPD should add the Executive Director of the COB or their designee as a voting member to the DCOP Panel.
- The Recruitment Section’s SOPs should address conflicts of interest of the [DCOP] Panel and direct panelists to recuse themselves from deliberating or voting on an applicant’s qualification when they have personal or business relationship with the applicant.
- MNPD should evaluate the pre-academy employment program to determine whether it improves training academy outcomes and early employment outcomes compared to those who did not participate in the program and release a public report on the program.
Metro Nashville Community Oversight, the support department for the COB, tweeted a copy of these recommendations.
Here are the 11 recommendations being made to MNPD regarding its hiring procedures. Check them out and let us know your thoughts. We have a public comment hearing meeting you can attend tomorrow.
— Metro Nashville Community Oversight (@MNCONashville) May 11, 2021
The Metro Nashville Community Oversight Board (COB) formally announced the eleven recommendations during a committee meeting on Wednesday. Watch below:
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