Police response time could improve with new agreement in Huntersville

- Under an agreement back in 1996, Mecklenburg County Commissioners asked CMPD to respond to service calls in what they call the “Extra Territorial Jurisdiction” or ETJ of Huntersville, Davidson, Pineville and Mint Hill.

“In 21 years, a lot has changed in our Extra Territorial Jurisdiction. In fact, it's no longer a rural area, now it's a bustling community with businesses and homes which now require regular routine police patrols," Huntersville Police Chief Cleveland Spruill said.

Those are patrols that aren't happening with CMPD now. The original agreement was for CMPD to respond to only service calls and then head back to charlotte. Now, it takes CMPD 20 minutes or even longer to respond to incidents in Huntersville.

"We had a Huntersville Commissioner come and spoke to us last night and talked about a three hour wait for non-life threatening traffic accident," Mecklenburg County Commissioner Jim Puckett said.

This service is being paid for by Mecklenburg county tax payers through the county's law enforcement district tax. Currently, funds are about $18 million for the year. Only $3 million go to the ETJ of Huntersville but tax payers aren’t seeing the benefits of paying that price.

Huntersville Police Department is asking for that $3 million to go to the department instead to provide a better service.

"The $18 million, it goes to the City of Charlotte. It does not make it back to CMPD and clearly 3 million does not go back serving Huntersville," Puckett said.

"We already respond to calls in the ETJ even though we aren't getting paid for it.  We are on the same radio channel and so on, so when we hear that a citizen is in need, when we are close by, we are not going to ignore it and pass by," Chief Spruill said.

If the $3 million went to the Huntersville Police Department, it would pay for about 30 police officers and equipment that would adequately serve those areas. Chief Spruill tells FOX 46 Charlotte, to cover the ETJ area, he would need only 12 officer, which lowers the current cost.

"The City of Charlotte is taking the money and giving inferior service not because Chief Putney can't or doesn't want to just because of the geographical location. It's tough to do," Puckett said.

The City of Charlotte doesn't want to give up that $3 million, forcing the county to agree to terminate the entire $18 million contract to look for new option on who can police those areas.

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