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Parks and Recreation

Parks Police

Parks Police Contact Information

Gordon Howey
Phone: 615-880-3429

two officers on horseback in Centennial Park

The Park Police provide police services to Metro’s park system. They are tasked with patrolling and responding to calls for service within the 115 parks that encompass almost 11,000 acres of land in Davidson County. The officers utilize patrol cars, sport utility vehicles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), horses, bicycles and foot patrols to aid in this task. They also investigate crimes that occur on Park property and conduct undercover operations. Officers have the same powers of arrest and duties as a Metro Police officer while in the Parks. They are a division of the Department of Parks and Recreation but receive their police powers by Special Commission issued by the Chief of Police of the Metro Police Department. They work closely with the Metro Police and follow their policies and procedures. The Department currently has a staffing of 31 budgeted positions.

Park Police Mission

The Mission of the Metropolitan Nashville Park Police is to ensure that the city’s parks and greenways remain safe for all persons to enjoy. The Department strives to always display the highest standard of honesty, integrity, and professionalism in every interaction between fellow employees and the people we serve. For each problem encountered, officers will seek a solution consistent with current laws and community values.


Park Smart PosterThe Park Smart program is designed to give the community simple tips that will aid greatly in helping reduce the likelihood that citizens will be victims of theft. Nearly half of all cars that are stolen in Davidson County are taken with the keys. By simply not leaving your car running unattended and by taking your keys out of the car when you do park will greatly reduce the likelihood that you will be a victim of auto theft.

Thefts from vehicles are another crime issue that we can help prevent by simple tips. Criminals target vehicles where they observe valuables. If you secure your valuables out of view this will be a great help in preventing this crime.

Here are some other tips that will keep you safe in parks

  • Do not take unnecessary valuables with you on your outing, and never leave any valuables unattended in the park or in the car, even in the locked trunk.

  • Be aware of your surroundings.

  • Enjoy greenways and trails with a companion.

  • Carry a cell phone when on a trail or greenway.

  • Keep dogs on a leash at all times, unless in one of the three designated off-leash dog parks.

  • Only use park equipment and/or facilities for the intended purpose.

  • Never build fires at any Metro Parks location. Use charcoal only in grills provided at designated picnic spots within parks.

  • Children should be supervised by an adult at all times.

  • Stay on trails to avoid poison ivy! 

General Park Rules and Guidelines

  • Dogs must be on a leash and under control by the owner unless in one of the designated off-leash dog park areas.
  • Alcoholic beverages are not permitted in any park unless a permit is issued by the Board
  • Fireworks are not permitted in any park except those designated and approved by the Board.
  • Advertising is not permitted in any park.
  • No gambling or games of chance are permitted in any park.
  • Parking is not permitted between 11:00 p.m. and one-half hour before sunrise, unless special permission is given or an area has been designated by Park Police for event parking.
  • All parks are closed from 11:00 p.m. until one-half hour prior to sunrise, unless otherwise marked or by special permission by the Board or Director.
  • Parks marked as closed from dusk until dawn will be closed during those time frames.
  • The speed limit in all parks is 20 mph, unless otherwise posted.
  • There is no bathing, swimming or wading in waters on any park property unless an area is designated as such by the Board.
  • No hunting, trapping or killing of animals in any park.
  • No fires are permitted unless in designated fire pits or barbecue grills. Those fires must be maintained and supervised by an adult of 21 years of age or older.
  • Patrons may only ride horses on bridle paths that are marked unless special permission is given by the Board.
  • No person shall sell or offer for sale any merchandise or object in any park unless permitted by the Board.
  • Model airplanes can only be flown in areas specifically designated for such use.
  • Driving instruction is not permitted in any park.
  • Drivers may only operate their vehicles on paved or improved roads unless so directed by a Park Police officer.
  • No person shall camp or erect a shelter for camping in any park except by permission from the Board.

For more detailed information on rules, regulations, policy and procedures, please refer to the Metropolitan Board of Parks and Recreation Policy Manual.