NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The police chief of Tennessee's capital city has announced he will retire amid calls for his resignation.
Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson will step down after a national search for a new chief is completed, Mayor John Cooper said in a statement Thursday. Cooper said Anderson, who took over as chief in 2010, intended to retire after serving 10 years in the role.
"Over the next several months, my office will organize input from the entire community as we find the right leader for this next chapter of community safety in Nashville," Cooper said.
The announcement comes days after more than a dozen city officials signed a resolution seeking to oust Anderson.
At least 15 Nashville Metro Council members signed a document last week that urged Cooper to call for Anderson's resignation and pursue "meaningful policy and behavioral change" in the agency.
Anderson has been criticized in recent years, with activists and some city leaders saying he has resisted change and transparency. Calls for his resignation have intensified amid a wave of protests calling for police reforms.
Activists across the nation are demanding changes to policing after the death of George Floyd, a black man who died last month in Minneapolis after a white officer pressed his knee against the handcuffed man's neck for nearly 8 minutes.
"In order for police practices to change in Nashville and in order to build trust between the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department and communities of color in Nashville, a change in leadership is essential," the resolution stated.
In addition to searching for a new chief, Cooper said the police department would work with a public commission to review the agency's use of force policies and procedures. He said officials must address additional public safety demands, including a nationally televised presidential debate hosted at Belmont University in October.
Anderson has served 45 years at the Nashville police department beginning as a patrol officer.
"Chief Anderson is a thoughtful and effective leader – a dedicated public servant who has the admiration of his officers and the thanks of a grateful Mayor for his years of service to our community," Cooper said.