Metro Officials Say Police Don’t Have Enough Cruisers

NASHVILLE, TN — At Metro fleet, there are dozens of police cars sitting and waiting for repairs.

In July, News 4 filed an open records request. We found that out of Metro’s 826 police cars, 100 of them are out of service.

James Smallwood, president of the Nashville Fraternal Order of Police, said that has resulted in too many officers without cars.

“We’ve got multiple detectives sharing one or two vehicles. We’ve got police officers waiting on cars to come back so they can do their job, and they really have a passion for this community. They want to help this community, and it’s become a problem so much that they call me and say, ‘We don’t have the cars to do what we need to do,'” Smallwood said.

News 4 has learned that in 2008, Metro police were forced to get rid of more than 100 cruisers as part of a mandatory budget cut.

Since then they’ve added two precincts and 196 more officers. They plan to add 70 more officers this year, but officers say they aren’t getting nearly as many new cars and, when the old cars break, it takes too long to get them back on the streets.

“Therefore zones aren’t being handled properly like they should be. And it’s not the officer’s fault, it’s downtown’s fault for not taking care of making sure the equipment is operational. And I’m not talking about the police chief, I’m talking about general services or whoever maintains that equipment,” said Metro Councilman Steve Glover, who represents District 12.

News 4 filed open records requests to determine how long it’s taking general services to repair cars and whether they plan to purchase new ones.

General services spokesperson Velvet Hunter said once she gets those records she’ll do an interview. We will let you know if and when that happens.

“We need to make sure we have operational equipment that our officers are able to use out there to protect our people,” Glover said.

A spokesperson for the Metro Nashville Police Department tells News 4 that some officers have take-home cars. Others use cars that are passed from shift to shift. Then they have extra cars. Each precinct determines the needs each day and allocates the cars they do have appropriately.


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