TN House bill requires guidelines for civilian oversight board for police

Local News

A Republican state lawmaker is filing legislation that would provide “guidelines” and “parameters” for Tennessee cities with civilian oversight boards of police.  

It comes in the wake of Nashville voters last fall approving the setup of what they call a Community Oversight Board (COB) for the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD). 

“I think protecting police officers while at the same time making sure citizens get a fair shake is something we can all agree on,” said House sponsor Michael Curcio who also chairs the chamber’s newly formed judiciary committee. 

Right now, Rep. Curcio says there is no law concerning such police review boards because there are not very many in Tennessee. 

“Often they are politically fueled,” Rep. Curcio told News 2 Monday. “The folks who really want to see honest oversight often get drowned out by people who want to stir up emotions on an issue.” 

Calls and a ballot petition drive for a Nashville COB intensified last year after a white officer shot an African-American man believed to be armed who was fleeing from him. 

Rep. Curcio gave an example of why he says there needs to be guidelines or parameters for police COBs. 

“What you would not want is for a file to be shared–a personnel file to be shared and someone snap a picture and put it on Twitter,” added the bill sponsor.  

The Middle Tennessee representative says that unless it’s written down in law, something like that could happen with a COB. 

Exact details of the bill are expected after Rep. Curcio is expected to file the bill late Monday.

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