#5. Community Police Academy – Stats and Cams

For 12 weeks, Sherard Edington is taking part in the Community Police Academy offered by the Nashville Police Department. Through lectures and demonstrations, he is learning about the inner workings of law enforcement in Davidson County. These are his reports.

Dear Friends,

For Session 5 of Community Police Academy, we had two speakers. The first discussed the department’s newest unit, Crime Strategies—a fancy name for statistics. It should be no surprise that the department keeps detailed records of all crimes committed in Davidson County. Using these statistics, they can identify hotspots as well as determine what enforcement strategies are most effective.

Interesting facts:

  • All crime statistics are available online at the Data Dashboard.
  • 67% of all stolen guns are taken from cars and trucks. Thieves break into cars looking for weapons.
  • Since 2007, just 515 people are responsible for over 8000 arrests.
  • Nashville is involved in a pilot program for License Plate Readers. The department has been pleased so far with the results.
  • Always try to park next to a Tesla. They have multiple cameras that are always recording. The Tesla not only serves as a deterrent, but it will record the person stealing the gun you left in the car.

The second topic was far more interesting than I would have imagined. It involved the department’s deployment of body cameras. The captain who oversees this program explained that the department spent a number of years just considering this new technology before adopting it. They stayed in close contact with other departments that had already taken the plunge in order to learn from their successes and mistakes.

Items of interest:

  • All officers are required to wear a body camera. Vehicles are also equipped with three to four cameras which sync with the worn cameras.
  • Cameras continually upload data via a cellular connection.
  • All recordings are available via a public records request.
  • Nashville is unique among all departments in the U.S. in that each month, two field videos from every officer are randomly selected and then reviewed by a team of sergeants. Any performance issues are noted and addressed up the chain of command. The result is that leadership has a better understanding of what is taking place around the department.

Next week: DUI