CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Chief Kerr Putney says they were down 200 officers at the start of the year. So far, they've hired 50 and have seven going through training.
"We generally hire 120 to 130 in a year. Our issue right now over the next three years we're going, by attrition, to lose a great number of officers, well beyond our normal attrition rate,” Chief Putney said.
CMPD was also approved to hire 125 new officers and with the current hiring rate, the Chief says they'll never fill them, so they're ramping up recruitment efforts.
"The goal is to even more professionalize our approach to recruitment. We want professionals coming here who have a proven track record who all they need to do is figure out the culture of Charlotte, how to serve here and do it at a higher level."
The lateral program hires sworn officers from across the country and offers pay incentives for those who live within the jurisdiction, speak Spanish, and have experience.
"This is a prime way to bring people here who are seasoned, who have a proven track record, inculcate them with our culture, show them how this community expects to police and then within six weeks they're going to be on the streets of Charlotte doing great work."
With increased attention on police shootings, CMPD is struggling to recruit. While they were making headway in diversity,
This year the department has seen a 60 percent reduction in attracting African Americans and a 10 to 12 percent reduction with Latinos.
Officer ward came to charlotte from Asheville with 12 years of experience.
"They're such a progressive department. They're always thinking outside the box, they're always creative and those opportunities were something that I appreciated because they were different than where I came from."
CMPD is looking to hire a minimum of 60 officers immediately. If you’re interested in joining the force, visit their website for more information.