Fraternal Order of Police speaks on recent officer-involved shootings, effects on police recruitment

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — In a matter of ten days, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has actively been looking into three separate officer-involved shootings.

In two of the incidents, officers were reportedly the targets of the gunfire. This growing trend is impacting recruitment and retention within the Metro Nashville Police Department.

“We are seeing officers who are risking their lives day in and day out and go home to their families and they’re asking the question, ‘Is it worth it anymore?'” said Sergeant James Smallwood, President of the Fraternal Order of Police.

Sgt. Smallwood said it’s a tragic reality that happens too often and could affect the number of police officers patrolling the Nashville area.

“Certainly it’s going to have a negative impact on recruitment and retention,” said Sgt. Smallwood.

Sgt. Smallwood said the most recent shootings are making some think twice about joining the force.

On May 1, police went to check on a man in a wooded Nashville area, after his mother called police concerned for his safety, telling dispatch, her son had a gun and should be considered “dangerous.” According to police, he then started shooting at officers as they tried to negotiate with him to put the weapon down.

Three days later, Metro Police told News 2 that a man called 911 for help as a way to “set up” officers before opening fire, injuring one officer.

“It’s sad. we are seeing across the country an increase in violence and challenges against law enforcement officers when they show up to these calls,” Sgt. Smallwood said.

Despite the recent violence, in a statement from Metro Police, “sworn staffing remains steady,” and the department saw an “increase in applicants between January and March” of this year.

“Thankfully, we still have a lot of officers here who are dedicated to serving the community whose heart is serving this community,” said Sgt. Smallwood.

Read the full statement from Metro Police below:

Our sworn staffing numbers remain steady. Under Chief Drake’s leadership and changes made to the MNPD Recruitment section, we saw an increase in applicants during the first quarter (Jan-March).

Our current training class of 55 recruits is scheduled to graduate in August with another class scheduled to begin in the fall. Anyone interested in joining or learning more information about becoming a police officer can visit joinmnpd.com.

Metro Nashville Police Department

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