Chief Putney: CMPD is prepared for 'whatever happens' - | WBTV Charlotte

Chief Putney: CMPD is prepared for 'whatever happens'


The night before officials are expected to announce whether charges will be filed in the officer involved shooting of Keith Scott, members of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department met with neighbors to work on improving community relations.

CMPD has scheduled several dialogues in area neighborhoods to bridge the gap between residents and police.

Chief Kerr Putney spoke to more than three dozen people at Central Church of God Tuesday night.

"It's hard to hate up close. I'm trying to close that gap so there's not as much distrust and confusion and that people really genuinely know who the officers out here working for them are," Chief Putney said.

No topic was off limits for audience members. 

Chief Putney talked about race, perceived bias, the use of deadly force, and the recruitment of new officers.

One neighbor was concerned about protests after Wednesday's announcement. After the program, Putney told reporters the district attorney had a job to do and he expected that he would do it.

"Whatever happens tomorrow, we're going to be prepared for it. If it happens Thursday, we'll be prepared then, we've got work to do, we still have to continue to build trust and enhance trust with our community, and tonight was a part of that," Putney said.

Charles Monnett, one of the attorney's for Keith Scott's family told WBTV that they're preparing for an emotional day Wednesday, no matter the outcome.

"It's a day that she's looked forward to for quite some time now, and she's hopeful that she's going to get answers to those questions and first and foremost is why did her husband die?" Monnett said.

Monnett said the family hopes there is no violence if there are any protests following the announcement. 

"They appreciate the community support that they have received, and they encourage people to express their feelings and thoughts about what happened, but really strongly urge everyone to do it in a peaceful and lawful manner," Monnett said.

At the community forum Tuesday, residents said recent events showed why having a dialogue with police officers is so important.

Deb Miller brought her 16-year-old son Colby to be a part of the discussion.

Miller joked she had to drag her son out of the house to listen to the officers, but felt it was important that he meet the police in their neighborhood.

"He's a young black male but I just wanted him to see that the police officers are here for us, they are not our friends, but they're here to protect us and I just wanted them to hear what they had to say," Deb Miller said.

Colby Miller told WBTV that it was interesting to hear perspectives from other people and said he learned a lot.

"I feel like I should bring some friends next time so they can also know these things," Colby Miller said.

Putney said the sessions have been helpful for his officers too. 

"What we need to work on is continue doing more of it, engaging people who are still reluctant to come to the table to have the conversation," Putney said.?

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