CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte says the city is All-Star ready.
When reality arrives in two weeks, Charlotte Mecklenburg Police (CMPD) say the department will need all hands on deck.
During All-Star weekend between February 14 and February 17, not only will police be responding to typical weekend calls around the city, but officers will have to handle vehicle and pedestrian traffic for All-Star events, security at the arenas where games are playing and at hotels where players are staying. They’re also doing V-I-P protection.
"Not specifically all the players. However, they are going to be some people that are coming in that would pose an issue that we need to protect and we need to make sure we secure them for their safety as well,” said Deputy Chief Johnny Jennings. “So some of that is part of the plan as far as the whole entire NBA process is concerned because you’re going to have a lot of people that are going to come and draw a lot of attention and we have to ensure that they’re safe as well.”
What about businesses that want to hire officers for off duty work? “We're trying to accommodate as best we can. Officers are not working 24 hours a day around the clock so there will be some time that officers will be allowed to choose and work an off duty job if they so choose" said Jennings. WBTV has learned that locations such as the Convention Center, Music Factory, Epicentre, Spectrum and Bojangles Coliseum and some of the hotels will get priority attention for off duty work because of All-Star activities in those spots.
But will there be officers available for other off duty work?
“If they’re available to work it and we can accommodate that then they’re certainly are welcomed to do that but we also tell businesses when they ask for off duty officers whether it’s NBA or not that there’s no guarantee an officer will sign up,” said Deputy Chief Jennings. If CMPD isn’t able to fill a request for off duty police, the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office says its deputies also do off-duty work.
During All-Star weekend, the Sheriff’s Office won’t have the demands that CMPD will. It’s likely deputies could see an increase in requests.