Graduate of CMPD's Citizens Academy advocates for better officer pay

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Officers with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department packed the city council chambers once again Monday night.

Dozens of uniformed officers were seated throughout the room as the Charlotte City Council convened for a meeting, but the only person who directly addressed the city leaders regarding officer pay was not an officer.

"I wanted to be here in support of the CMPD because I think the job that they do, they are way underpaid," Shirley Hines, who is a Charlotte resident, said.

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Hines took to the podium during the public comment portion of the meeting and didn't waste time making her feelings known."Today I stand before you in support of an increase for CMPD," Hines told the council members Monday.

She said she had recently graduated from the CMPD's Citizens Academy and had come to have great respect for the men and women of law enforcement. "I spent one day in the life of an officer. That is a job I could not do if I had five bodies and two heads," Hines said.

She said she also went on a ride-a-long with Officer Casey Shue of the CMPD. Shue was shot and injured during an ambush in front of police headquarters earlier in 2018. Hines recalled the experiences she had with the officer during their ride-a-long and referred to Shue as an "amazing young woman."

"If that injury was to plague her over during her retirement, it's our responsibility," said Hines.

Among the officers in attendance for Hines' speech was Mark Michalec, who is the president of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Fraternal Order of Police.

"I honestly believe that the majority of the community does support us, does have our back. When we have citizens like that speak, it just brings it home to us," Michalec said.

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Hines' speech ended with a standing ovation from all of the officers in the crowd.

"It's a good thing when we have the kind of relationship with the police force, the firefighters, all of those folks when they're willing to come down and express themselves," said Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles. "That doesn't happen in every city and every government."

Lyles said that the city manager is working with an internal group of officers to prepare for the budget process.

Michalec said officers will continue to show up in the masses at council meetings to make it known that they are looking for better wages.

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