November elections are right around the corner, with huge decisions up and down the ballot for voters, including the controversial Community Oversight Board.
The group would be charged with investigating various complaints made against Metro police, later issuing disciplinary and policy recommendations to MNPD superiors.
On the first day of early voting, a crowd gathered in a West Nashville temple, sharing their voices on cue cards.
Speakers from both sides spoke to the crowd, as the full sanctuary wrestled with their own decision.
“I’m interested in hearing what both sides have to say,” said Iris Buhl. “My inclination is to vote against it because the FOP [Fraternal Order of Police] is not represented.”
Buhl said her mind is just about made up.
For Willia Doss though, and many more undecided voters, Wednesday night’s debate was crucial.
“We’re here to understand the pros and cons of the COB,” Doss noted. “We plan to early vote tomorrow, and the COB is very important because it’s very important for all of us because as it stands now, it’s the policeman’s words against the community.”
While those against the amendment see it as an expensive way to undermine police, others see it as a necessary step, in the ever-evolving relationship between the public and law enforcement.
“Its implication is that we can’t trust anybody in law enforcement,” said Robert Nash, who served 33 years on MNPD. “They don’t trust the police to do the job right, they don’t trust the [District Attorney’s] office to do it right, and we think that’s wrong.”
“We feel that this will actually give people more of an inside voice in getting some of those policies changed, and then trying to get the police department to be more responsive,” said Jane Boram, with Nashville Organized for Action and Hope. “Build more trust with Nashville neighbors.”
Early voting continues in Tennessee through Nov. 1, with Election Day on Nov. 6.