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____ and getting children into these programs where they had positive role models and interactive experiences in various aspects. If we focus on reaching the children and providing them an atmosphere where they can be productive rather than just having idle time, I think that will go a long way towards addressing the crime in the city because that’s really where the crime is picking up is among that age group. Another thing that I love is Commander Imhof over in East Nashville has gotten officers out of the car and put them on the beat, and they’re on their feet and they’re out there building that trust in the community and building those relationships—and it’s actually paid dividends in the East Precinct. While that doesn’t necessarily apply to every community in our town or parts of West Nashville, with increasing density, that’s something that is going to become increasingly relevant and something that should be much more attractive to our police force to reduce crime and create better relationships within the community. BRILEY: Well, I hate to disagree with you again but I’m going to disagree with you. Actually, violent crime is down in almost every single category, and it’s down for the second year in a row. There are certain parts that are significantly up, but not considered violent. So, auto thefts are way up. Most violent crime is down—murders, rapes, robberies—down in virtually every part of town. I think that is a good thing. We need to do more to invest in our police, so we’ll be opening a new precinct over there on Murfreesboro Road. And we’ve already acquired the land for the process of designing a new police precinct. In the coming years, we’ll be adding 66 new officers, which will take the officers that are spread out right now and give them basically a smaller area to cover. On top of

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that, we need to do more in terms of recruiting officers—that’s a big part of it. And we’re going to have to make some adjustments to starting pay for police officers. The first step in that will take place this year. There’ll be more to do in that regard. Again, we’re doing a costof-living adjustment for police to try to help with the retention. One of the things that a chief tells me is that 20 years ago a police officer would sign up and say, “That’s my career.” And that across the nation you’re seeing officers just not staying as long. They just say, “I want to be something else.” And so, we’re seeing that to a certain degree as well. There are things we need to do to address police pay and the number of police officers we have, and we’re working with the chief on those. I’ve already talked about housing affordability and things we’re doing in that regard. SWAIN: I think that a lot of the crime, not all of it, but a lot of it comes from young black males. That’s a problem that needs to be addressed within the communities, as well as through law enforcement. There is a problem with that whole approach to juvenile crime. There’s a concept called restorative justice where they are just turning people out. Police say by the time they fill out the paperwork, the child has been released back home. Well the home that they came from may be part of the problem. I think that we have to look at what happens when young people are arrested. I’m not sure at this point what type of curriculum they receive when they’re in detention, but I think there’s a problem with turning them out too fast, back to the neighborhoods and the community. Police have told me that a lot of the young men, and young people, but they are young men for the most part, that commit murder or they themselves get murdered—they are known to police because they’ve picked

them up several times and they got released and then they go out and they rob someone. There’s something wrong there. A lot of our focus with the Community Oversight Board has been on police, and it’s blaming the police for all the problems. I think that’s been detrimental to law enforcement. We have to take the problem back to the schools and to the parents, as well, when it comes to youth crime. When it comes to police, the morale of police and teachers tends to be very low. That has to do with poor leadership. As mayor, I would want new leadership for the police department, and I would want to be involved. The mayor picks the police chief. I would like to be involved with the committee that had representation from the police department to select the next chief. And so, there’s a need for new leadership, there’s a need for competitive pay and there’s a need for better community relations. Those would be my priorities. I have a special interest in law enforcement. One of my degrees is in criminal justice; I thought about having a law enforcement career myself. I’ve been doing roll calls—I haven’t done Bellevue yet, but I’m working my way there—going in for 6:30 and 2:30 roll calls, meeting the officers before they go on their shifts—and I’ve done a ride-along with North Nashville. I’ve been able to see firsthand what some of the problems are, not just for the police officers, but also the firefighters because they work hand in hand. At least three or four of the calls that we went on, the firefighters were there, the paramedics were there and they are all understaffed. So that’s what I would do there is to try to improve morale by getting better leadership. It would be better for our city if our officers more than lived in the city. Repeatedly, they’re telling me that they don’t live in the city because of the poor quality of

Profile for 372WN

372WN Vol III, Issue IV  

June–July 2019

372WN Vol III, Issue IV  

June–July 2019

Profile for 372wn
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