This story is brought to you by Scoop: Nashville as part of the #bspotter / #VisitMusicCity series which features tourist and downtown-related arrests in Music City.
As of last week, administrations of both the Metro Nashville and the Tennessee State University Police Departments have stopped scheduling officers to work secondary employment on the Downtown Partnership’s private police force, described as “mercenaries” by some, including Mayoral Candidate Alice Rolli. While MNPD says it was a “mutual decision” between them and the PSO (Private Security Organization), Jack Byrd, who manages the PSO, tells Scoop: Nashville the decision was solely his. The PSO has become controversial in recent weeks over reported ‘homeless roundups’ to clear up the area for tourists. A statement from an MNPD spokesperson ties the scheduling pause to an “insurance issue,” while TSU did not comment on their reasoning for stopping the program permanently. The remainder of the officers left working for the troubled PSO are primarily from Millersville PD & THP.
In Metro Council Committee meetings this week, representatives from the Downtown Partnership’s program did not disclose to council members that two departments were currently out of the program and painted the program as a sort of assistant to already existing downtown on-duty officers. MNPD already provides a fully-staffed Entertainment District Unit every Thursday – Sunday; however, downtown business owners felt this wasn’t enough — resulting in the forming of this private police force in recent months.