First Latino MNPD captain to head diversity efforts

    Recent graduates of the Metro Police Academy are sworn in August 12 2020. (Photo: Nashville.gov)
    Recent graduates of the Metro Police Academy are sworn in August 12 2020. (Photo: Nashville.gov)

    The Metro Nashville Police Department’s new Chief Diversity Officer, Captain Carlos Lara, plans on spending 2021 improving relationships between the police and minority communities.

    “There are communities with which we have had a good relationship, communities that we have not gotten in contact with, and communities that we used to have a good relationship with in previous years but not anymore,” said Lara.

    Metro Nashville Police Captain Carlos Lara (Photo: Nashville.gov)
    Metro Nashville Police Captain Carlos Lara (Photo: Nashville.gov)

    “We want to show them that we want to get to know them better,” he added.

    At Metro staffer Fabian Bedne’s weekly press conference, Lara spoke about how he plans on confronting the next year by identifying leaders from Nashville’s vast and diverse immigrant community.

    Chief John Drake recently announced the creation of the MNPD’s Office of Community Engagement & Partnership and hired a 15-member unit to enhance existing relations with Nashville’s diverse communities and form relations with previously uncontacted groups. Current members  of the committee include Hispanic, Kurdish, Vietnamese, Black and white police officers. 

    As the first Latino Captain in the history of MNPD, Lara had previously worked with the Latino community but plans to branch out into other communities and is currently in the process of working  with Kurdish leaders. 

    “This is something new for me since I’ve always worked with the Hispanic community, but now I’m working with other communities and connecting with other immigrant-rights organizations,” said Lara. 

    As Chief Diversity Officer, Lara is still in the initial stages of planning community engagement, such as holding events and having 911 be more accessible by removing language barriers. 

    Lara will also serve as the MNPD’s liaison to the Community Oversight Board and will oversee the El Protector outreach program, which was designed specifically to aid Latinos with limited English-speaking abilities and reduce crime in the community.