Speakers at the funeral for Metro Nashville Police Officer John Anderson said he knew his job was dangerous. But they also took the opportunity Monday to commend officers for taking those risks each day.
Anderson died early July 4th when a teenaged driver without a license crashed into his police car. He was the first officer to die in the line of duty since 2017. Fellow officers, government officials and loved ones said Anderson's death served as a sobering reminder of the perils police face on the job, especially in an era of heightened scrutiny.
“We must ensure that this sacrifice is not made in vain, and we must work together to reject negative narratives," said James Smallwood, president of Nashville’s Fraternal Order of Police. "We must foster an environment that recognizes the reality we all face together, and we must remember to remain committed to partnering to build a stronger and safer community.”
Smallwood said Nashville’s officers are the dividing line between good and evil.
But the FOP has pushed back against a new Community Oversight Board that’s been established to investigate complaints of misconduct. The rank and file officers have also questioned the District Attorney’s decision to charge Officer Andrew Delke with murder after shooting a civilian during a foot chase last year.
During Monday's memorial service, Officer Anderson's stepfather, Danny Hein, said everyday situations police officers face are often the most heroic. He said many of his son's contributions to the community went unnoticed, just as with most officers.
"The job you are asked to do, day in and day out, is one most of us cannot fathom," he said.
Samantha Max is a Report for America corps member.