Newly appointed Nashville Police Chief John Drake says the changes he is implementing will make the police department more inclusive, transparent, and accountable, reports News Channel Five. “I come from here and I know what it’s like in these neighborhoods. I know what it’s like when you’re parents are not there or if your role models are people doing the wrong thing,” says Drake, who wants to connect with young people who lately have been involved in serious crimes. “We’ve had 90 homicides already. A 30 percent increase over this time last year and at the same time we have juveniles as young as 11, 12, 13-years-old that are involved,” Drake said.
With an already short-staffed department, Nashville police are now committing two teams from each precinct to serve as community engagement partners. Drake also signed a memo of understanding with the city’s Community Oversight Board, a group dedicated to investigating allegations of police misconduct. “That builds trust and legitimacy to show that we’re willing to work with an outside agency that the community supports,” Drake said. It’s the type of accountability he says the department needs following claims of sexual misconduct from female officers, who still make up only a small fraction of the force. Drake has enlisted a staff member to speak to female officers and better understand the issues they face. Drake says it is unacceptable that the 1,400-officer department has only 156 women and 211 minorities.