Meck Co commissioners vote to terminate CMPD police service cont - | WBTV Charlotte

Meck Co commissioners vote to terminate CMPD police service contract

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MECKLENBURG COUNTY, NC (WBTV) -

For years, residents living in unincorporated areas of Huntersville complained about slow police response from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, the department unincorporated residents paid for with taxes. 

Huntersville Police say their officers routinely responded to calls and waited for CMPD to show up, but the department never got reimbursed. 

Both residents and police wanted changes, but the county's contract with Charlotte pays the city $18 million for police service for all unincorporated areas in the county.

Commissioner Jim Puckett says for Huntersville to get the change it wanted, Charlotte would have to agree to amend the contract. "The city of Charlotte to amend the contract to allow Huntersville Police to patrol their extra territory jurisdiction – the part of Huntersville that’s not in the town limits - with the money that’s raised from the tax just within that area and leave the other $15 million," Puckett says. 

Commissioner Puckett says Charlotte city leaders refused to make changes. "The city of Charlotte said if Huntersville wants to do it - they can do it for free - that we don’t want to release the money," Puckett told WBTV. 

Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners voted to make changes Tuesday night.

"Directed the county manager within the next 12 days, we will terminate the contract 14 months from now," Commissioner Puckett said. "For the next 10-to-12 days, the city can change their mind, decide to amend the contract and we will reverse that."

The vote to terminate means that police service for all unincorporated areas could see some changes. Police departments in those individual towns or cities could negotiate a price with the county to handle police service in their unincorporated areas. 

"We’ll ask them what they would like to have. We can allow them to contract with CMPD - that would be an option. We can allow the sheriff to provide that for them," Puckett said. "We’ll be looking at legislation that might allow the town next door to provide that. That can’t be the case right now, but hopefully in 14 months the town of Mint Hill could possibly contract with the Town of Matthews to provide police services."

Mint Hill's Police Chief Tim Ledford says his department also hears complaints about slow response from CMPD to Mint Hill's unincorporated areas.

Ledford says another department would have to drive through Mint Hill to provide the police service for almost 7,000 residents who live in the 12 square miles of the unincorporated area. Ledford says his department would do it, but the price would have to be right because he would need to hire 14 more officers, including school resource officers.

Ledford estimates it would cost at least $1.5 million to provide effective police service. Ledford says in 2015 there were 6,000 calls for service from the unincorporated areas. 

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