FOP raises concerns over officer shortage in Nashville

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — “Law enforcement across the country is facing a nationwide recruiting epidemic,” said James Smallwood, President of Nashville Fraternal Order of Police.

The demand for officers in growing cities is there, but in some cities like Nashville, the positions aren’t getting filled.

“It is taking us longer to get to those emergencies where people need our help and they need it now, but because there aren’t enough of us to go around they can’t get it,” said Smallwood.

The minimum starting salary for an officer in Music City is $41,841, but some studies show to live comfortably in Nashville you need more than $80,000.

“We don’t take this job because we expect to get rich from it, but we should be able to live comfortably with our families. We should be able to afford the things our families need on a day-to-day basis,” said Smallwood.

Nashville is also far behind comparable cities. In Austin, minimum salaries for officers start at $59,628, and in Oklahoma City salaries start at $52,722. So how do you keep officers in a city when they can go somewhere else and make more?

Smallwood says he is hopeful that Mayor Cooper will address the issues moving forward. Metro police have a budget for 1,511 officers, but at last check, police tell News 2 about 120 positions are open.

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