Nashville’s new police oversight board will have 11 members — but choosing them won’t be easy. With the addition of dozens of candidates before Tuesday’s deadline, the final tally of nominees ended up at 182.
Several lawyers, doctors, pastors, real estate agents, former council members and a few unsuccessful political candidates are among the diverse batch of nominees.
Also in the mix: a retired police chief, a longtime football coach at Middle Tennessee State University, the mother of a victim of the Waffle House mass shooting and James Shaw, Jr., the man credited with stopping the gunman in that attack.
Faith groups, Vanderbilt University, the NAACP, progressive nonprofits, neighborhood associations and the Fraternal Order of Police are well represented.
“We always thought that there was a lot of interest, so it doesn’t necessarily surprise me that we have this many nominations,” said Vice Mayor Jim Shulman, who will oversee how the Metro Council vets the candidates next month and then votes in 11.
Candidates will first fill out questionnaires (due Jan. 4) and then Shulman says they’ll be reviewed in special sessions by the Rules Committee of the Metro Council.
“Because there’s so many nominees, they’re going to have to extend it over two or three days,” he said.
The council votes will also be complicated.
Most candidates are competing for the board seats reserved for community members. There are seven of those. However, four are set aside for residents of economically distressed neighborhoods, which will require the council to group candidates accordingly before voting.
Separately, two seats go to members nominated by Council members — and even that pool is large, with at least 36 people nominated by about two dozen council members (final details on which candidates came from council members were not immediately available Tuesday).
Finally, two seats go to choices from Mayor David Briley. Pending Council approval, he selected two candidates with deep experience in criminal justice. Phyllis Hildreth, now with American Baptist College, worked in the Office of the Public Defender for the State of Maryland; and Bob Cooper was the Tennessee Attorney General from 2006 to 2014.