Nashville's top cop on Thursday announced new department organizational changes including the creation of a Police Activities League, which will develop athletic and enrichment programs for city youth in coordination with community groups, Metro Parks and parents.
“The most rewarding position I have held in this police department during my 34-year tenure was as an officer in the 1990s assigned to the Police Athletic League,” Metro Nashville Police Department Chief John Drake said. “We touched the lives of countless young people during those years and were able to offer counsel to parents along the way as well. It is clear to me that Nashville more than ever needs a Police Activities League to help kids stay on track and away from bad influences that can negatively impact their lives for years.”
The Police Athletic League was disbanded in the early 2000s.
According to the department, the program was cut as "MNPD leadership at the time moved in a different direction."
Bonita Blue-DeVault, a 17-year MNPD veteran who is currently a school resource sergeant, will oversee the new department. Her promotion to lieutenant is effective Sunday, MNPD reported.
Joining Blue-DeVault: Officer Natalia Johnson, who has been working on a Police Activities League plan for the past several months through her assignment in the Office of Community Outreach & Partnerships, and Sgt. Brett Kenney, who is transferring from the central precinct.
New Office of Crime Control Strategies
Other organizational changes announced by Drake Thursday include creating a new Office of Crime Control Strategies that aims to "ensure a coordinated response to emerging and prevalent crime issues."
Madison Precinct Commander Greg Blair, a 24-year MNPD veteran, will be appointed to the rank of inspector effective Sunday and will head that new department. Blair will work with precinct commanders, crime analysts, detective components and other police department divisions, MNPD reported.
Blair, a long-time watch commander, holds a bachelor’s degree from Edinboro University. He will also lead efforts toward the establishment of a real time crime center.
“Blair will be tasked with focusing on a big picture view of crime in Nashville, with an emphasis on violence, and developing and implementing strategies, departmentwide if necessary, to further enhance public safety,” Drake said.
Natalie Neysa Alund is based in Nashville at The Tennessean and covers breaking news across the South for the USA TODAY Network. Reach her at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Nashville PD Chief John Drake announces Police Activities League