Chief Anderson announces retirement amid renewed cries for ouster

Chief Steve Anderson

Mayor John Cooper has announced the retirement of Chief Steve Anderson of the Metro Nashville Police Department after 10 years as Chief of Police. Nashville Mayor John Cooper thanked Chief Anderson for his service and announced the beginning of a national search for a new Chief of Police.

“Chief Steve Anderson, who has served the city honorably in this role since 2010, will retire at the conclusion of our national search and hiring process,” said Mayor Cooper. “Over the next several months, my office will organize input from the entire community as we find the right leader for this next chapter of community safety in Nashville.”

The announcement comes after renewed calls for his dismissal as well as a draft resolution by members of the Metro Council calling for Anderson’s resignation.

The resolution reads as follows:

“WHEREAS, in recognition of Chief Steve Anderson’s 46 years of service to the Nashville community, we acknowledge the systemic reductions in violent crimes that have occurred during his tenure; and

“WHEREAS, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis, it has become clear that in order to save the lives of Black men and women, police practices must change; and

“WHEREAS, in order for police practices to change in Nashville and in order to build trust between the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department and communities of color in Nashville, a change in leadership is essential; and

“WHEREAS, Gideon’s Army’s ‘Driving While Black’ Report, issued in 2017, concluded that there is evidence of racial bias in Nashville’s traffic stops and this conclusion was not meaningfully addressed by Chief Anderson; and

“WHEREAS, in 2018, after Nashville voters approved the creation of a Community Oversight Board through a referendum, the Metro Nashville Police Department has never demonstrated a clear willingness to be a good faith participant in the oversight process; and

“WHEREAS, on June 4, 2020, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department issued and quickly recalled warrants for the arrests of prominent Nashville activists Justin Jones and Jeneisha Harris; and

“WHEREAS, these warrants were unjustly issued and this troubling event should cause Nashvillians to reflect on how our community is policed; and

“WHEREAS, it is time for Mayor John Cooper to call for the resignation of Metropolitan Nashville Chief of Police Steve Anderson in order to create meaningful policy and behavioral change in the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department.

“NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY:

“Section 1. That the Metropolitan County Council hereby goes on record as requesting Mayor John Cooper to call for the resignation of Metropolitan Nashville Chief of Police Steve Anderson.

Section 2. This Resolution shall take effect from and after its adoption, the welfare of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.

IMF statement on resignation of Chief Anderson

On Thursday, June 18, 2020, Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced the retirement of Police Chief Steve Anderson. For the past four years, the Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship has called for the resignation of Chief Anderson due to several issues resulting in distrust among the African American community and a police culture unsuitable for the progressive city Nashville claims to be.

Relinquishing leadership is often difficult but eventually necessary. The wounds of the community inflicted during Anderson’s tenure need to be healed, and we contend that now is the time for the healing process to begin by immediately appointing an interim chief rather than waiting until an October retirement date. We challenge Mayor Cooper to include the Community Oversight Board and other community partners in the national search for a new Police Chief.

We have a unique opportunity to build bridges of trust between the people and the police. We need a Chief who maintains a real, working relationship of cooperation with the Community Oversight Board. We need a Chief who institutes 21st-century policing practices. We need a Chief who incorporates cultural police training and builds diversity that reflects all of Nashville. For over 50 years, the IMF has been a prophetic voice for positive change in Nashville. We will continue to serve as a voice for the voiceless and to stand strong for social justice.

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