Tennessee police oversight board subpoenas limited in bill

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Tennessee legislative panel has changed a bill to maintain, but limit, subpoena power for local community boards that investigate police misconduct.

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the amended community oversight board bill Tuesday. It would require a board-hired special investigator, the police chief or head of police internal affairs to request subpoenas from a judge.

The version headed to the House floor still strips subpoena power.

Republican Sen. Mike Bell said the amendment makes GOP Senate Speaker Randy McNally a little more comfortable.

Knoxville Police Chief Eve Thomas said her city’s oversight board hasn’t issued a subpoena in 20 years. She thanked senators for the amendment.

Democratic Sen. Brenda Gilmore said Nashville’s new voter-approved board should be allowed to operate for a year, then lawmakers can assess the situation.

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