CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe looked rested and happy as he sat down Tuesday to take questions from reporters about his decision to retire.
Monroe was hired in 2008 and has been credited with lowering the crime rate, hosting a successful and safe Democratic National Convention, and with promoting a community dialogue between neighbors and police about race relations. He was often praised for attending homicide scenes and meeting with families who needed support.
Monroe said he's had discussions with city leaders and city council members about the possibility of staying on board as chief. Several council members have told WBTV they want him to stay.
Monroe was asked point-blank whether he would consider staying if city manager Ron Carlee left. "I can say, right now, it is still my intent to retire July first," said Monroe.
Monroe said out of respect for the leaders who have approached him, he did not want to go into specifics, but he did say he's not waiting for any kind of offer to stay. "It's not about money," he said.
Earlier, Carlee praised Monroe for being an excellent chief, advisor, and friend. Chief Monroe is not under contract to stay with the city, Carlee said.
Monroe also discussed the pending Kerrick criminal trial. Officer Randall Kerrick is charged with voluntary manslaughter for shooting unarmed Jonathan Ferrell ten times in 2013. Monroe decided to charge Kerrick within 24 hours of the shooting.
Kerrick's defense attorneys say Ferrell charged at Kerrick and the shooting was justified.
CMPD policies, procedures, and training will be under scrutiny at the trial, which is scheduled to start three weeks after Monroe leaves. Monroe said the Kerrick trial had no influence on his decision.
When asked if he's concerned about the timing of his departure, he said, "It's a point I believe we are ready for. We measure and monitor what we've seen around the country and what we see here in Charlotte. There's a difference."
Monroe said Charlotte has invested in its community and officers. He does not expect things will get out of control here, like they have in other cities with deadly use of force cases.
The Kerrick civil case in federal court was settled for more than $2 million dollars a few days before Monroe announced his decision. He was scheduled, according to court deadlines, to give a deposition under oath to the Ferrell family attorneys in the coming weeks.
Internal Affairs files on officer-involved shootings were also scheduled to be turned over to attorneys.
Now that the case has been settled, Monroe will not give a deposition and the files will not be turned over for the civil case.
However, Monroe could still be called to testify in the criminal trial.
Monroe said it was simply time for his retirement after nearly 40 years in law enforcement, including 14 years as a chief.
"This will be my last rodeo. This will be the last chief's job I will look to hold," he said.
Monroe said there is good in-house leadership to continue what he has started. He said before the city starts an exhaustive national search, city leadership should consider the candidates already at CMPD.