#1. Community Police Academy – Homicide

Dear Friends,

This week, I enrolled in the Community Police Academy—a long-running project of the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department that allows citizens to learn about the workings of the MNPD. Each Tuesday, for 12 weeks, I will go to the Madison Precinct and join about 50 other people to hear presentations on various aspects of local law enforcement. Topics to be covered include Domestic Violence, Traffic Enforcement, Gangs, Drugs, TITANS (not the football team), Youth Services, and more.

I hope to share with you reports of what I learn and experience.

My first class was this week. Classes run from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. Ironically, this class started a little late because of traffic. Apparently, Nashville traffic is so bad that even the police have issues.

Once the class started, we were welcomed by ranking members of the department. Chief Drake was scheduled to be there, but he had to attend that evening’s meeting of the Metro Council. He sent a pre-recorded welcome instead.

Police spokesperson Don Aaron then showed a recruiting video which featured the department’s brand-new Airbus H125 helicopters. These are impressive machines.

The main topic for the evening was “Criminal Investigations Division” with Sgt. Nielsen from the Cold Case and Homicide Unit. Sgt. Nielsen explained how that unit operates and then discussed a number of cases he had worked over the years. He was kind enough to share graphic photos of stabbings, gun shots, and blunt force trauma.

I was touched by Sgt. Nielsen’s commitment to his work. He explained that although the work is gruesome and often heart-wrenching, he feels honored to do the work and help bring resolution to the families and loved-ones of these victims.

On Thursday night, I will return to the Madison Precinct for a tour of the Crime Lab.