Nashville police plan to open daycare for law enforcement children

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Metro Nashville police are considering a new perk for recruiting and retaining law enforcement: building a day care center.

According to state data, the average cost of child care is $8,000 per year. Speaking at a budget hearing this week for the Metropolitan Council, Chief John Drake said child care is vital for his members to balance their professional and personal lives.

“We had people considering leaving the force because they were on call, they were single – whether male or female – and they didn’t have childcare. In the police force, being called at 2 or 3 in the morning and not having someone to watch your child is very, very difficult.

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Drake said the discussion is in its early stages, but his department is exploring the possibility of converting an existing facility into a daycare for the children of law enforcement officers.

In recent years, Metro Nashville has taken steps to be more family-friendly and recruit more women to the force. They opened breastfeeding rooms for new mothers, abandoned military standards for recruits and joined the 30 x 30 initiative, a national effort to have 30 percent of recruits be women by 2030.

As a young officer, Drake said he had his own struggles balancing parenthood and a career.

“When I started as a police officer and a single parent, I worked nights. And can you imagine trying to find someone to watch your child overnight every night five days a week. And then maybe when you go to court the next day. So it’s very difficult and I understand that. And I hope we can achieve that.

According to the recent State of the Child in Tennessee report, the average cost for a toddler to attend day care is $8,372 per year. For a single mother, this would represent 27% of her income.

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There is also a national initiative to alleviate this burden. The Providing Police Child Care Act of 2024 would provide $24 million in federal money over five years to police departments to open child care centers.

In Washington, the bill is in committee. But here at home, Drake said he agreed. “We had a meeting of big city leaders and we talked about it across the country as being vital to any organization. »

A Metro Police spokesperson told News 2 that opening a day care center is in its early stages. No site has been selected.