CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - An open three-page letter from an anonymous Charlotte officer dives into the life of a CMPD officer and questions why police continue to stick around, despite the pay and obstacles they face daily.
"Moral [sic] across the department is at an all-time low. Young, old, rookie, veteran; everyone is questioning why they are sticking around," the letter reads. "It's the topic of conversation during roll call before shift, the 15 minutes we get to eat on patrol, and at the end of shift in the locker room before going home."
The letter continues, "And, why would we stay? Why serve a community and a city that doesn't care about our wellbeing in any way? Why serve a community that screams obscenities, too offensive to even consider putting in this letter when we drive by."
The anonymous officer says police asked city council for a 15% pay raise, and the city went in "uproar" because of the request that asked taxpayers to spend $22 million.
"Many people stated that the police haven't earned a raise, but let me ask you this…When is the last time that you put on a bullet proof vest? When is the last time that you had an execution hit ordered on you because of your profession? When is the last time that you heard gun shots a block away and then immediately ran toward them while people are screaming in terror and running away?" the letter reads.
The letter details raw situations officers face daily. "When is the last time you put a tourniquet on a child's arm that was bleeding out because someone shot into his house? When is the last time you pulled someone off the ledge of a bridge by their pants as they are about to jump onto the highway? When is the last time you held a grown man, crying, because he just lost his entire family in a car wreck?"
The officer says police work odd hours and often miss weekends and holidays with friends and family.
"City council, you stated that you want a 15% raise too. You can have it! Come join the police department," the letter reads. "Learn the North Carolina state laws and statutes. Pass the firearms qualification, as well as the driving qualification. Take the state exam, pass it, put on a badge, and go on patrol."
The letter notes what officers reportedly requested from city council:
- A 15% raise for all CMPD officers
- Post-retirement health insurance coverage for officers hired after the 2009 insurance rework
- Reducing the number of steps to reach top salary to 7 steps (currently 15)
- Take-home vehicles for officers living in city limits
Charlotte responded with the counter offer below, according to the anonymous officer:
- A 6.5% raise for CMPD officers
- One insurance coverage plan reduced by 10%, no post-retirement insurance, and no payment required during the month of August for insurance
- Reducing the number of steps to reach top salary to 12 steps
- A senior patrol officer program, a pay raise for those with the department for 12+ years
- 75 cars for an officer take-home car program
"With the community and city council both raising their middle fingers at cops here in Charlotte, it's not worth it anymore. No one has our backs, not even our city leaders," the letter reads.
The officer gives a glimpse into horrific scenes they say Charlotte police have dealt with in the past month: "People who will shoot a pregnant woman, film themselves raping a child and attempt to sell the video, murder someone in cold blood over $50 of marijuana, or hold a knife to their girlfriend's throat as they scream for police to shoot."
The officer asks Charlotte to "wake up," saying, the officer count is declining rapidly in a city that is growing by 66 people a day.
Aside from increased compensation and incentive, the officer wants respect from the community. "Without that respect, I will no longer be volunteering my life to keep this city safe," the letter reads.
"You hate us until you need us."