CMPD chief talks policing plans for potential RNC 2020

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney spoke publicly for the first time about the possibility of the city hosting the 2020 Republican National Convention.

At a town-hall style public safety meeting Thursday, Charlotte resident Mike Clement asked the chief what plans police have in place to host such an event during what he called a "politically divisive" time.

"It's an extraordinary city to live in and be a part of," Clement said. "But I also don't want to see a city that's torn apart."

Clement brought up his concerns over the city's bid for the RNC during a question-and-answer portion of Thursday's meeting, Putney responding, in part, "It's a totally different ballgame, and we're already thinking through those risks."

Clement , a registered Republican, says he asks, because he believes the country has changed drastically since Charlotte hosted the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

"It's important that we have prudent discussions about what could go wrong, as well as what could go right," he said.

After the meeting, Putney told WBTV that though the city's bid for the event is still being reviewed, his department is already thinking about a public safety plan.

"We're just making sure we get our minds on, and our eyes are on what's going on around the country," he said. "So we know the type of environment and the type of groups we're going to be dealing with"

If Charlotte is chosen, the department will use a blueprint from policing in 2012, but will alter it to fit today's political climate.

"Last time, it was people talking about being heard," he said. "This time it's, 'Let's be actually seen committing violence.' So we have to be able to keep people apart and diffuse situations and use good discretion."

In 2012, the city got nearly $50 million in federal funds and 3,000 additional officers to amp up security for the event.

The Republican Party is expected to officially pick a city later this summer.

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