NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced Interim Chief John Drake would assume the role full time Monday, the same day the Metro Council Women’s Caucus announced recommendations for reporting sexual misconduct within Metro departments.
The topic of sexual misconduct came about in late August, when a group called Silent No Longer TN presented several allegations of sexual harassment or assault within the Metro Nashville Police Department, a total the organization says is now 39 employees that have come forward with misconduct claims.
A spokesperson for MNPD said they did not find evidence to substantiate the claims, but an investigation into one Captain Jason Reinbold was picked up by the district attorney’s office. Reinbold resigned effective November 27 after a ten-day suspension on an unrelated event. The DA’s office confirms the investigation is ongoing.
When questioned about the allegations of sexual misconduct within the department at the Mayor’s press conference Monday, Chief Drake said he’s already made changes to officer training and more.
“I’ve already started ensuring consequences for officers that are accused of sexual harassment. I’ve already suspended some, they’ve been suspended, and we have officers that’s being investigated for sexual harassment, those have been turned over to an independent agency… the TBI,” Drake said.
He also added that he’s started a hot line “through the HR department, they can call directly without fear of retaliation.”
However, Silent No Longer TN Founder Greta McClain told News 2 that the majority of the employees she represents are disappointed with the mayor’s appointment.
She explained that they do not feel that a promotion of someone from within the department will create systemic change.
“It’s alarming and concerning to the victims,” McClain said, “As an organization, we’re very concerned that the mayor chose to allow Drake to remain.” But the Metro Council Women’s Caucus put together a very specific list of what they want implemented from the mayor and Drake in all Metro departments.
“I think what we learned over the last few months is the system that we have is inadequate, and as the numbers grow, individuals that have concerns or allegations or incidents, and they’re growing in terms of their courage to come forward, we need to provide them with a safe way to voice those concerns,” Councilwoman Joy Styles of District 32 said in their press conference Monday.
The caucus recommendations are as follows:
- The Metro Department of Human Resources should work with the Metro Office of Family Safety to provide a safe space for reporting and investigating claims of sexual harassment immediately by keeping the identity of employees who come forward confidential.
- Create a centralized process through the Department of Human Resources for educating all Metro employees about the various ways to report claims of sexual harassment and centralize the responsibility of vetting claims at Metro Human Resources instead of individual department heads.
- Coordinate with the Office of Family Safety so that Metro employees who feel they are victims can inquire about options for identifying and reporting sexual harassment without triggering an official investigation before they are prepared
- Establish a zero-tolerance policy on retaliation towards employees who report sexual harassment or discrimination that includes consequences for offenders of the policy.
- Increase the frequency of required in-person or online sexual harassment and discrimination training for all Metro employees from every four-years to every two-years. A signed commitment acknowledging adherence to Metro policy will be placed on file upon an employee’s completion of training.
Chief Drake said everything starts with recruitment. He said the department will be seeking out more female officers and diverse officers. The TBI confirms they are conducting investigations regarding sexual misconduct within MNPD.
This is a developing story. Stay with News 2 and WKRN.com for updates.