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Mayor John Cooper Announces Police Chief Selection Roadmap

7/28/2020
Chris Song

Mayor John Cooper today announced a roadmap for selecting Metro Nashville’s new Chief of Police. The process Mayor Cooper has created is designed to engage residents and neighborhoods from across our community to identify the qualities needed in our next Chief of Police. It lays the groundwork for a robust, nationwide search for a new police executive informed by expert advice on recruiting and 21st century policing principles. The goal of this process is to select a new police chief who will make Nashville a model of community engagement and policing innovation.

Community Engagement

This process will provide for extensive, county-wide community engagement. Starting on Monday, Mayor Cooper is inviting all Nashvillians to participate in a brief online survey about their priorities for the next Chief of Police through the Hub, Nashville’s 311 system. The survey includes the following five questions:

  1. What are the three (3) most important qualities or skills you would like to see in Nashville’s next police chief?
  2. What would you like to see the next chief accomplish immediately? Over the next 2-3 years?
  3. What are the most important public safety needs in your neighborhood?
  4. Please share suggestions you have for improving police services.
  5. What is your home zip code?

Directions to the Hub survey can also be found on the Metro website. Residents who lack access to the internet will be able to call 311 and complete the survey by phone. 

In addition to the Hub survey, the Mayor’s Office will reach out to neighborhood associations to better understand the safety needs and priorities in their neighborhoods. The Mayor’s Office will also conduct engagement sessions with community groups and with police officers.

Using input from the survey and from these community engagement sessions, the Mayor’s Office will work with the Human Resources Department (HR) to craft a job posting for the position of Chief of Police and to develop interview questions for the review committee and the interview panel, as well as for Mayor Cooper. In mid-August, the position will be posted on Metro Nashville Human Resources’ website for a period of 30 days and advertised with the following organizations:

  • National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives
  • Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association
  • Major City Chiefs Association
  • International Association of Chiefs of Police
  • Police Executive Research Forum
  • National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives
  • National Black Police Officers Association
  • FBI National Academy Associates

In August, Metro Human Resources (HR) will assemble a review committee of diverse individuals with backgrounds in law enforcement and community oversight to assist the department as it scores and rates applicants for the Chief of Police position, in accordance with Nashville Civil Service Guidelines. The review committee will then review the top tiers of qualified candidates and recommend candidates who should advance to the interview process. Metro HR will then forward the committee’s recommended list of finalists to an interview panel that includes a variety of community voices and partners.

Finalists advancing to the interview process will interview in Nashville with the interview panel and with Mayor Cooper. With input from the interview panel, Mayor Cooper will select the next Chief of Police, in keeping with guidelines provided by the Metro Nashville Charter.

Expert assistance

Mayor Cooper is eager to encourage outstanding police executives from across the nation to apply to this position. To help recruit outstanding candidates, the Metro Human Resources Department has engaged Gary Peterson, President and CEO of Public Sector Search & Consulting, to assist with the search process. Mr. Peterson specializes in police executive searches and has conducted searches in more than 25 cities, including Seattle, San Francisco, Dallas, Kansas City, and Sacramento, CA.

In conjunction with the other recruited outreach noted, Mr. Peterson will conduct targeted outreach to police executives to identify outstanding candidates and encourage them to apply for the position of Chief of Police in Nashville. He will also work with Metro HR and the candidate review committee to ensure that Nashville identifies candidates with a proven track record of innovation and community engagement and a commitment to the principles set forth by President Obama’s Task Force on Twenty-First Century Policing.

In addition, Mr. Peterson will also conduct a survey of the current police department. Among the questions Mr. Peterson will ask are the following:

  1. What do you think the department does really well?
  2. What three (3) things would you change about the department if you could?
  3. Describe the kind of leader who you would like to see as your next chief.
  4. What do you think the key challenges will be for the new chief?

Timeline

Following is the timeline for the Chief of Police selection process:

Timeframe Activities
July 28 Mayor’s Office announces roadmap for Chief of Police selection process.
Community and neighborhood engagement begins. Consultant begins process of reaching out to potential candidates nationwide.
Early August Consultant surveys police officers on job satisfaction, priorities.
Mid-August Metro HR and the Mayor’s Office finalize job posting. The position is advertised nationally and posted for 30 days.
Mid-September Application period closes.
Late September Metro HR scores candidates and meets with review committee narrowing the field to the top finalists for interviews.
Metro begins an extensive process of background checks.
October Finalists visit Nashville to meet with interview panel and the Mayor.
Mayor announces Nashville’s new police chief.