Anderson settles in as permanent police chief, will 'stay the course'

Sunday, January 2, 2011 at 10:05pm
Jude Ferrara/SouthComm

Yes, Metro Police Chief Steve Anderson, there is a Santa Claus.

Only this year, the jolly one’s apparent operative, Mayor Karl Dean, delivered an early gift Thursday, Dec. 23, when he named Anderson the permanent police chief a week after directing Metro’s Human Resources Department to open up the spot for promotion from within the police department.

Management-level veterans of the Metro Nashville Police Department could apply for the job as long as they had 10 years of experience in law enforcement and five years of management experience.

But when it came down to it, only one applied.

It was the same man who said seven and a half months ago — in the midst of the flood recovery and the departure of former Chief Ronal Serpas to New Orleans — that he wasn’t interested in the permanent role of Nashville’s chief of police.

After Metro announced the promotion opportunity and Anderson applied, his reasoning behind May’s I’m-not-the-one answer was that he had only a few hours to think it over, and at the time, he didn’t want to distract from the flood recovery.

“I wanted the transition to be as smooth as possible,” Anderson told The City Paper two days before he was named chief.

“I didn’t want to create any possibility that any persons involved — whether it be people in the police department or people outside the police department — might mistake any decision I would have to make as a way to seek a permanent position.”

The focus moving forward for Metro police, Anderson said, will be “to stay the course,” continuing efforts to develop relationships with community groups and pushing forward with technological advancements such as the delayed in-car computer reporting system, which is designed to streamline the flow of information to and from officers in the streets.

The department’s philosophy of analyzing crime stats to direct enforcement and emphasizing the importance of traffic stops remains intact with Anderson, who’s been on the force for 35 years and served as a deputy chief under Serpas, who shaped those philosophies.