CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Raleigh Police are on their way to Charlotte for a recruiting event Friday, as CMPD officers demand better pay and benefits from Charlotte city officials.
Some local officers tell WBTV many are leaving for better opportunities like this.
"I never thought I would be one to leave," said one former CMPD officer who asked we not reveal his identity. He left his badge behind two months ago.
"Good people are leaving," he said. "I can assure you that former colleagues of mine that were excellent police officers, were an absolute asset to CMPD, left for better opportunities."
And so did he, taking his nine years' experience to the private sector. Like many officers in Charlotte, he says the tough choice was all about pay, benefits, and ultimately - family.
"When you go to work every day and kiss your kids goodbye, not knowing full-well if you're going to come home or not, and doing it while living paycheck to paycheck and not having the benefits that a profession that puts you in harm's way should provide, it's incredibly difficult," he said.
Right now, a new CMPD recruit will make just more than $43,000 to start, with the chance to eventually rise to nearly $66,000 as an officer.
But officers recently told city council – it is coming up short.
"We're leaving for places like Raleigh that'll pay their officers more than $70,000, compared to just $60,000 here," Daniel Redford, a current 12-year veteran of CMPD, told the council.
As Raleigh prepares for a recruiting event in Charlotte on Friday, opportunities like this are causing some to have concern for the retention rate in Charlotte.
"You don't want a situation where you're filling police academies with bodies instead of cops because that'll have a detrimental effect for anyone who lives and works in and around Charlotte," the former officer said.
CMPD officers are asking the council to consider a 15 percent pay increase for them in the next budget. Council members have told WBTV that they hear the officers' message "loud and clear."