Amendment 1 community oversight passes; extending term limits fails

Voters overwhelmingly favored Metro Charter Amendment 1 which creates a community oversight board of police officers.

Amendment 1 for the creation of a police oversight board passed overwhelmingly in the August 6 election. The amendment received 134,135 votes passing with 59% of support. The establishment of a Community Oversight Board had been pursued for years but received recent traction from the recent killings of Jocques Clemmons and Daniel Hambrick by Nashville police.

“The people of Nashville have spoken,” said Mayor David Briley. “As I’ve said all along, I will support this amendment, and I will start by meeting with involved parties as early as next week. I have always asserted that civilian oversight is essential to ensuring that we have a 21st-century approach to policing. Thankfully best practices exist to help us chart a path forward, and I will do all I can to help ensure the Community Oversight Board is successful.”

Amendment 1 creates an 11 member Community Oversight Board to investigate misconduct allegations regarding the police department that must be operational by January 31. As well as other duties, the board will have the independent power to investigate allegations of misconduct against Metropolitan Nashville Police Department (MNPD) officers, issue reports assessing allegations of misconduct by MNPD officers and make policy recommendations to public safety and justice administration agencies. The board can also recommend discipline and forward its findings to the District Attorney, the Grand Jury, or the United States Attorney.

Upon passing, the spearheading organization for the amendment, Community Oversight Now, issued the statement: “This victory is the outgrowth of a people’s movement, the transformative energy of hundreds of volunteers and everyday people representing diverse racial and ethnic groups, faith traditions, young and old.”

The amendment was strongly opposed by a well-financed Nashville Fraternal Order of Police, who spent a reported $500,000 in an attempt to defeat the measure.

“While the Fraternal Order of Police remains firm in its belief that this board will only create a divide between law enforcement and the public, we recognize that the voters have spoken, and we will respect the rule of law and the will of the people we serve,” said FOP president James Smallwood.

Four of the other five amendments passed, with the only exception being the extension of term limits for city council members.

Metro Charter Amendment results:

Amendment 1 (passed): Establishes the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County Community Oversight Board consisting of 11 members, to be operational no later than January 31.

Amendment 2 (passed): Revises the line of succession for the office of mayor by calling for a council election of a temporary mayor in the absence of the vice mayor and further prohibit that temporary mayor from seeking election in the next election for mayor or vice mayor.

Amendment 3 (passed): Requires a special election for mayor when more than 12 months remain in the unexpired term, for vice mayor when more than 24 months remain in the unexpired term, and for district council member when more than eight months remain in the unexpired term and clarifies that no special election for councilmember-at-large be held.

Amendment 4 (passed): Requires the oaths of office for mayor, vice mayor, and members of council to include an oath to uphold the Charter of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville.

Amendment 5 (failed): Revises current term limits for the office of district councilman and councilman at large to three terms.

Amendment 6 (passed): Updates the Metropolitan Charter with gender-neutral references in place of masculine-only pronouns.