Fifth Safest City in Tennessee

Thanks in large part to the programs and initiatives implemented since Roddy Parker became police chief five years ago, Nolensville was named the fifth-safest city in all of Tennessee in 2022.

Parker attributes it to the increase in community involvement.

“We couldn’t accomplish that unless we have the support of our community which supports us greatly,” he said. “They keep us posted on stuff. We can’t be aware of or see everything all the time so the community helps us keep our community safe.”

Under Parker’s watch, the department has grown from five personnel to 18 full-time officers, an administrative assistant, and six volunteer reserve officers. He also instituted a number of other changes to address what he called inefficient operations when he moved from the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office in 2017. The changes occurred in large part because of the support of former Mayor Jimmy Alexander.

“Mayor Alexander was very supportive and embraced our vision and did everything he could do to make it come to fruition,” Parker said.

“Like any small town, they didn’t have a lot of money to spend on the police department. When I came over here I told them ‘I’m no miracle worker. It’s going to take money and resources to make it happen.’ So that’s what the mayor pledged to do and with his support and the continued support of the board of commissioners we’ve done a few things that we’re proud of that hadn’t been done before and we hope to keep building on that success.”

Since Parker took over, the department has added a Citizen’s Police Academy, a summer youth camp, National Night Out, Coffee with a Cop, and a brand new program called Senior Assurance. Here, an officer is dedicated to checking in on seniors who may not be able to get out of their homes and educating them on scams targeting seniors and other issues.

“We do a number of things to reach out to the community to let them know we’re here to help in any way we can,” said Parker.

Another tactic Parker has employed is communicating through social media sites like Facebook.

“We try to tell the story and put some humor into it,” Parker said. “We make it something people can relate to instead of just a police thing.”

Updating the record management system from an antiquated, not user-friendly version also has paid off.

“This allows the officers to be much more efficient,” Parker said. “There’s a lot more things we can do with this system to keep our records documented correctly. We can keep pictures with the reports.”

Other ways NPD helps is with Meals on Wheels, providing nightly business and regular vacation checks and educational sessions.
In addition, Parker’s department applied for and received $42,000 in grant money from the Tennessee Highway Safety Office to purchase equipment, in-car cameras, and an electronic citation system. That helped it solve 54 percent of the crimes it investigated in 2022, which Parker said is well above the nationwide average of 33 percent. He said this is a major reason why the town is not yet a hotbed for crime.

The department is in the process of finishing what it needs to do to obtain state accreditation for later this year for the first time.

“What I’m most proud of is the quality of people we’ve been able to attract here,” Parker said. “Nolensville is still a small town, still a small department and there’s not a lot of opportunity within the department right now because of the small size of the department. But the people who want to be here come to work in Nolensville not only because of the department but the potential of the town. They want to be in Nolensville. They could go anywhere especially now with everyone looking for help. They like the small town and appreciate the community support we enjoy here.

“The other thing I’m proud of is we’re very responsive to the needs of the community. We try to give everyone individual attention. We know we can’t help everybody all the time but we help the ones we can help and make them feel like they’ve been helped.”

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