#GetOnBoard Nashville Community Oversight

A movement begun decades ago finally captured Nashville citizens and inspired action — hastened by the unjust deaths of Jocques Clemmons & Daniel Hambrick. Led by their survivors, particularly women of color, this grassroots effort sprouts as acceptance of member nominations commenced Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018.

Image by Martin B Cherry

Looking back on this journey, the ride seems wild. Many (like myself) have only recently joined in the fight to demand community accountability of police in Metro Nashville, but critical mass coalesced nonetheless. The lost and damaged lives up to this point may now see some justice served, so we look forward to strengthening community ties and inner transformation as we remember the fallen and sacrifices it took to achieve this win for the people!

In an effort to stay engaged and ensure successful implementation of Davidson County’s first-ever Community Oversight Board, it pleases me to inform you that Nashville Metro City Council opened their nomination process for the COB on Tuesday - 11/20/2018. The individuals with a stake in the game, as well as the community organizations that coalesced around them, seek to have the best qualified, most representative, and experienced individuals to represent the many districts of Tennessee’s capital city. In an effort to help spread the word, below you will find some qualifications sought from board members, a timeline regarding the nomination process, as well as some of the responsibilities.

Image via Tennessean

Let us begin with some of the qualifications sought for such a equity-minded board of accountability. Besides defining the composition of the board itself, the official language of the legislation says the following regarding ideal candidates:

“ The Board members must have a demonstrated knowledge of issues pertaining to civil rights and equity, and must have experience with criminal justice and policing practices.”

Follow on Social Media@OversightNow

Community Oversight Now supports Nashville in its quest to uplift representatives of underrepresented and vulnerable populations to serve on the Oversight Board. Nashville needs those with a passion for peace — who get their jollies from justice being served — to step up to the plate! We support locals to participate in the process of applying independent oversight to all reports of alleged police misconduct.

Via Campaign Zero’s steps to ending police violence in America.

Nashville Metro City Council Member-at-Large @ericasgilmore

At this point, it is likely you know the board will consist of 11 members — 2 nominated by the mayor, 2 by city council, and 7 from nominating petition or community orgs (4 of those 7 need be from economically-distressed communities). Regardless of how one is nominated, all must manually print this form due to be received on December 18th at 4:30 pm by the city clerk’s office. Ultimately, city council has the final nomination approval by majority vote in attendance. Other requirements include:

  • Must be resident of Davidson County
  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Must fulfill nomination/petition requirements

This Tennessean piece explains the process in better detail.

The nomination process happens pretty quickly. All potential candidates have only 30 days from nominations opening to verify submission & receipt with the Metro Council City Clerk. There are 4 ways to be nominated to the Oversight Board.

The first route is by petition of signatures, and one needs fifty (50) signatures from Davidson County residents. The second route is by nomination of local community organization. The third route to nomination is by city council, and the fourth is nomination by the mayor.

After verification of nomination, each candidate must then complete a values questionnaire due just a few weeks later. This happens so fast because Amendment 1 stipulates the board be fully commissioned by January 31st, 2019. Metro Council has this webpage replete with documentation, definitions, and more info.

Photo by Martin B Cherry

Several publications specified the precise dates for nomination as evidenced by accompanied links, but we can quickly review the timeline here:

  1. Tue, Nov. 20, 2018 — Announcement of Vacancies
  2. Sun, Dec. 18, 2018 — Deadline nominee submissions (Metro Clerk by 4:30 pm)
  3. Mon, Dec. 19, 2018 — Questionnaire distribution
  4. Tue, Jan. 4, 2019 — Deadline completed questionnaires (Metro Clerk by 4:30 pm)
  5. Sat, Jan. 15, 2019 — Nominees appear before committee.
  6. Sat, Jan. 15, 2019 — Election & Confirmation by City Council (Tentative)
  7. Jan. 31, 2019 — Required Date for Commission of COB

Metropolitan Clerk’s Office
Historic Metropolitan Courthouse
1 Public Square, Suite 205
Nashville, Tennessee 37201

Image by Martin B Cherry

The idea behind #CommunityOversightNashville rests on a foundation of equity and democracy — thus necessitating a place at the table for all voices in our communities. Neighbors, we must seek, find, and persuade those among us who would serve well in providing community oversight. The seminal board shall have 1 year terms, subsequently staggering elections into 3-year terms. This is a volunteer position with no monetary compensation — only just rewards.

So we have a strict time limit, and the requirements dictate gathering of signatures and building consensus within community organizations to nominate individuals to this position. However, there are several more asks where we all can contribute. As mentioned in the last article, the Fraternal Order of Police has its legislative hearing on December 5th contesting the validity of the original required signature count on the petition. Legal fees shall be incurred from this process. Furthermore, it is likely GOP Glen Casada will be the next Speaker of TN state house, and he expressed sentiments of preempting implementation of the COB from the state.

Community Oversight Nashville has several ways you can help as follows:

  1. HOST a COB meeting in your neighborhood, organization, church, or club. Contact nashvillecob@gmail.com to arrange.
  2. CONTACT your Council Member and Mayor Briley — Contact info here.
    Ask them to:
    a) Clearly oppose state preemption
    b) Clearly support COB
    c) Protect whistleblowers
  3. WRITE — Social media/Newsletters/Bulletins/Op-Eds (like this one)-
    feel free to send a copy to us with anything you submit so that we can amplify it as well. Email: nashvillecob@gmail.com
    Most donations will cover legal fees: GoFundMe
    Twitter & Instagram: @oversightnow

Still unconvinced that we really need oversight of police? Here are but a few, recent articles related to local policing which exemplify why our communities need oversight:

Follow local Black Lives Matter @BLM_Nashville



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JM Heatherly

(he/they) Edit, Garden, Hospitality, Music, Organize, Socialist. Finding gems to polish for you. https://www.jmheatherly.com/