CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - In a couple of weeks thousands of people will be in Charlotte for the NBA All-Star Weekend. It’s one of the biggest events to come to the Queen City. Charlotte Mecklenburg Police were already notified that days off will be cancelled. Last year, the department informed officers that single day or week-long vacations will not be granted during that time.
Now, some officers are not happy with how the department is executing the no days off directive. They believe there’s a double standard – and it has to do with a birthday party.
There’s an invitation circling around for a celebration on Saturday February 16th for a high ranking CMPD commander. It’s happening in the middle of the stretch of time that officers were told no days off would be granted.
“What we’re trying to do is allow for at least a day in the middle for everybody as best we can,” said Chief Kerr Putney. “I don’t see where someone’s birthday party is newsworthy for me to really address. If our officers have issues with their schedules be adults and talk to me about it.”
Some officers who spoke with WBTV don’t want their names used because they’re not authorized to speak publicly. They say to them – the birthday bash smacks of a double standard. How can rank and file, they asked, not get any days off during All-Star weekend and work every day... 10-to-12-hour shifts depending on the assignment... but a commander can have a personal celebration when they were told not to make plans?
WBTV took the officers’ concerns to Chief Putney.
“They work their shift. Time other than their shift is personal time. I’m not dictating what anybody does,” said Chief Putney. “What I’ll also tell you is your responsibility sometimes equates to your rank. I know I will not be directing traffic during the NBA All Star. I know I will be working long hours though. That is my assignment. That is what I do.”
Chief Putney said the police schedule for that weekend depends on what kinds of work officers will be doing. “Sometimes your assignment allows for more flexibility. That’s okay too. What I will tell you is I’m not going to tell people they can’t celebrate birthdays if it doesn’t impact the work that they should be doing so if it were somebody who is specifically assigned to a specific critical function it would be a different issue – that’s not the case" said Putney.