CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - During a press conference at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Chief Kerr Putney revealed that the department started 2017 down nearly 200 officers. Chief Putney said they are making an "aggressive push" to recruit more officers since the vacancies are only going to get worse over the next few years.
"Since 2013, with the impact of social media and the highlight around the officer involved shootings, we've been struggling," Putney said. "We've taken a hit."
CMPD released this recruitment video on Twitter Tuesday:
Putney said the department currently has 150 officer vacancies, however, they have to deal with the changing environment. CMPD is ramping up a program to hire experienced officers from other departments.
Chief Putney believes recruitment will get a major boost by hiring at least 60 experienced officers. CMPD is going after seasoned officers who have a proven track record.
"What we're talking about is going after professional police officers who have a desire to serve in Charlotte Mecklenburg," said Capt Dave Robinson. "These are people with proven track records.These are people with proven dedication to serve. They are vetted and I would say more strenuously in some cases than anybody because we want to know exactly what their career has entailed thus far."
The department believes more mature and experienced officers will be better prepared to quickly handle dicey situations. But CMPD says the veteran officers who come will still have to do six weeks of training.
"Implicit bias, all the de-escalation training that we've heard from our community and we've stepped up to do a lot more of that - they get all of that plus they spend time with a seasoned officer after the month and month half that they spend at the academy" Chief Putney said.
The police chief says because of the current vacancies, the budget allows the department to aggressively seek experienced officers.
Putney says recruitment will include a residency incentive, increased pay if the officer lives inside the CMPD jurisdiction and a language incentive. If you're an experienced officer and are interested in applying, you can click here.