Nashville Chief a ‘Steady Hand’ Amid Police Protests


The Tennessean profiles Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson, who keeps a low media profile but is a familiar face at community meetings. Anderson has been chief for four years after working his way up through the ranks. Accusations of police brutality in the officer-involved deaths in Ferguson, Mo., and New York City this year thrust policing methods into the national conversation and pushed Anderson out of his comfort zone and into the spotlight.

When Nashville protesters poured into the streets this fall to express their outrage, Anderson guided the department’s even-handed response. Anderson met with church leaders and residents to discuss their concerns about diversity in the department, racial profiling and militarization of police. “The way the chief and these officers are handling things, that’s leadership,” said Arnett Bodenhamer, a North Nashville business owner. Anderson gave protesters leeway when they blocked traffic in malls, intersections and Interstate 24. So far, the protests have ended without violence or arrests.

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