Amendment 1 would create an oversight board in Davidson County that would investigate complaints against police.
Before early voting ends, a new TV ad is trying to convince people to vote against the amendment.
The ad was posted on YouTube the day before early voting began in Nashville. It makes several claims, including that Amendment 1 could raise taxes by $10 million over the next five years.
Amendment 1 does not propose a tax hike, but it would cost at least $1.5 million a year.
“That is a very small price to pay for potential lives that can be saved by simply having a community oversight board,” said Jackie Sims with the group Community Oversight Now.
Community Oversight Now and members of the International Ministry Fellowship held a press conference Wednesday where they, in part, addressed some of the claims made in the anti-oversight board advertisement.
“We are in full support as pastors and clergy and community leaders of IMF for Amendment 1 and we’re voting yes for that amendment,” said Pastor James II.
The ad also claims, “politicians want us to pass Amendment 1 so they can appoint big money donors to new un-elected government posts.”
The board would consist of eleven unpaid members. Seven of the members would be nominated by community members and approved, or not, by Metro Council. The remaining four positions would be nominated and confirmed by Metro Council and the Mayor, respectively.
There would also be paid staff members, including investigators to look into police misconduct complaints.
The ad also says, “on the new Amendment 1 commission many parts of Nashville won’t be represented.”
At least four of the eleven board members must be from “economically disadvantaged areas.” Though those areas are not specifically laid out in the referendum, Sims says it’s not difficult to figure out where the areas are located.
“If people have some concern you can start with the Promise Zones,” she said. “There are six Promise Zones in the City of Nashville.”
Members of current law enforcement, those who have served as law enforcement in the past five years, elected officials and their spouses won’t be allowed on the board.
“As Amendment 1 is written it is biased against police officers,” said Robert Weaver, former President of the Fraternal Order of Police.
The police union also held a press conference ahead of early voting to ask Nashville to vote “no” on Amendment 1. Weaver says the oversight board would be redundant.
“Police don’t police police,” he said. “We do conduct investigations just like any employer conducts investigations on their employees when they get a complaint. There are already avenues for complaints outside the police department.”
Community Oversight Now and other supporters disagree.
“We need all of Nashville to understand the importance of why we need a community oversight board,” said Sims. “We are only asking for accountability and transparency.”
There are similar police oversight boards in Knoxville and Memphis.
39,738 people have voted in Davidson County so far. Early voting lasts through November 1.
Early voting locations include the Howard Office Building, Belle Meade City Hall, Bellevue Library, Bordeaux Library, Casa Azafran Community Center, Edmondson Pike Library, Goodlettsville Community Center, Green Hills Library, Hermitage Library, Madison 50 Forward and Southeast Library.