Charlotte, NC - Speaking to a packed room of city officials Monday, CMPD Chief Kerr Putney directed their attention first to the facts.
“Starting with a handout, you can see that we ended or so far were up 10.6% in index offenses compared to this time last year,” said Putney.
But perhaps most concerning of all is the 17% increase in violent crimes and 47% percent increase in homicides, most of which were either drug or domestic related and involved known associates. However while these numbers are staggering, Putney said his department must look at the bigger picture.
"I think it's deeper than the conversation around numbers,” said Putney. “We should be talking about drivers, precursors to crime and what we should do to change those things.”
Those things, first and foremost, involve the recruitment of additional officers to not only the streets but in every division within the department. And Putney said he would like to employ more who are native to Charlotte.
“I've been here since 1989,” Putney said. “So I feel like this is my home and so do people that we recruit here locally."
In addition to upping recruitment, Putney said they must also have a vested interest in public trust, especially in the face of the post-Ferguson era. As a result, the department is reviewing all internal and external policies and making changes accordingly.
Community policing, training and education, as well as officer wellness and safety are also at the forefront. Because without good morale, Putney said it’s difficult to keep the department afloat. He admitted improvements are needed across the board, but he said this current assessment has so far proven the department is already making great strides in the right direction.
"What I see is the vast majority of our people get it right,” said Putney. “They're doing heroic work in the worst possible circumstances and they're doing is fantastically."
The department’s analysis is expected to be complete and ready for council review by the end of the year.