NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Metro’s newly formed Community Review Board (CRB) held its first meeting Friday after the state legislature passed a law disbanding community oversight boards, stripping the group of its power to investigate alleged police misconduct.
The CRB in its new form is tasked with collecting residents’ complaints and forwarding them to Metro police to investigate. Once the investigation concludes, the CRB can review the findings and make recommendations to Metro.
During Friday’s meeting, when it came time to reappoint former COB Executive Director Jill Fitcheard as executive director of the CRB, member Andrew Goddard told the group he could not support Fitcheard as executive director.
“I’ve thought long and hard and literally lost some sleep about this decision,” Goddard said. “I cannot support Ms. Fitcheard as the executive director of this new board.”
“I’m not trying to convince you to vote as I do, and I fully expect that she will be confirmed,” he continued.
Goddard told the group the COB left dozens of residents’ complaints from more than a year ago pending after being dissolved. He blamed the COB’s bad relationships with Metro police, the district attorney’s office, Metro legal, Metro IT, and Metro’s 911 system as reasons why the group had trouble obtaining important documents and videos needed to conduct investigations.
“We need those relationships, and we need to work on those relationships,” Goddard said. “The other side does, too, don’t get me wrong, but there is a common denominator and that’s a lot of entities to have bad relationships with.”
Goddard added that when the COB was given the chance to review important video needed to investigate residents’ complaints, they didn’t take it.
Some members jumped to Fitcheard’s defense.
“I listened to some of the comments made, and I’m very angry,” member Walter Holloway said. “You never bashed the legislators who put us in this situation. You never bashed the FOP who, from day one, never wanted this board, and you’re going to sit up here and bash this woman? I’m sorry. I’m angry.”
However, Goddard told Holloway he’s always been clear about his disappointment with the legislators’ decision to disband COBs.
The six other members voted to appoint Fitcheard as the executive director of the CRB, and Goddard said he is a team player and is willing to work with Fitcheard.
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Fitcheard encouraged the CRB to get to work to prove to the community the group can actually make a difference.
“What I would say to you all is, ‘Get ready to dig in and support,'” Fitcheard said. “That means it’s going to take you showing up and being committed to this work as much as my staff has been committed, as much as I have been committed.”
The remaining $1.6 million from the COB’s budget was transferred to the CRB. The CRB will plan a retreat for members and attend trainings on topics, including diversity in the near future.