NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Metro police flex units have become a vital tool in targeting high crime zones and flooding very specific locations with officers.
The units consist of six officers at a time who work three shifts per day across all eight precincts in Nashville. Most other officers are assigned to specific areas out of specific precincts.
Being in the right place at the right time, and gaining trust within some of our roughest communities, are difficult tasks for the Flex Units. News 2’s Neil Orne shows us how they do it during a ride along with Sgt. Marty Reed.
“The area we are going right now,” said Sgt. Reed, “They’ve had a few car burglaries and house break-ins last week. So that’s where they are at and they are going through the alleys.”
Like most police work, it’s not the stuff we see on TV. It is hard and tedious, requiring officers to roll through alleys, check on open gates, and knock on doors.
Sgt. Reed took Neil through the East Precinct, once riddled with crime.
“I remember being here on our bikes. There was an elderly lady. This stuck with me for the past five years. She asked us to stand by the dumpster while she took out the trash, and that’s just horrible to think of somebody hostage in their house because they are afraid to leave,” he recalled.
They aim to get off the beaten track and disrupt criminal activity. And, yes, that can include those “why in the world am I getting pulled over?” traffic stops.
“If they’re going to that area, so they’re not going to want to attract attention to themselves, so there probably going to follow the laws, so we look for minor traffic infractions in the hope that more people we come in contact with the more chances we’ll come in contact with that burglar that’s trying to break into their house,” explained Sgt. Reed.
With over 10 years on flex and now overseeing his unit, the sergeant says he sees the difference.
News 2 is committed to tracking crime across Middle Tennessee. Visit wkrn.com/crimetracker for more.