CMPD Chief Kerr Putney to retire at end of year, return for RNC

CMPD Chief Putney to retire at end of year, return for RNC

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Kerr Putney, the Chief of Police for CMPD, is set to retire at the end of 2019 before re-joining the department to prepare for the Republican National Convention in 2020.

In a letter, Charlotte City Manager Marcus D. Jones announced Monday that Putney will retire at the end of 2019 and return in the spring to continue his work around community policing.

Putney will officially retire Jan. 1, 2020, and following a two-month hiatus, resume his role as police chief in March. An interim chief will serve during Putney’s short hiatus.

Jones says Putney will step down from the role following the Republican National Convention (RNC) and a permanent replacement will be named at that time.

The press conference regarding Putney’s retirement, originally scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 9, has been canceled. The City of Charlotte provided a statement Tuesday evening.

“The intention for our transition plan is a solution that is in the best interests of the city, the residents of Charlotte and Chief Kerr Putney. There is no intent to circumvent the law. The statute does not prohibit hiring back a retiree, which is a widely accepted practice across the country. The statute defines retirement but does not define the terms by which a retiree may return for limited service. We plan to have Chief Putney return to the city in 2020 to run the day-to-day operations of our police department and lead security efforts surrounding the Republican National Convention next summer, while following all rules for retiree hire-backs. We will seek further clarification from the North Carolina retirement system.”
City of Charlotte

Sources provided video of Putney addressing the police department about his upcoming retirement.

“Come September 1 [2020], I’m going to really transition, truly retire and move on to the next chapter,” Putney said. “It’s humbling to come to the last chapter, the last year of my service here, but I couldn’t be more proud of the work you’re doing. This community appreciates that work, they depend on that work. Keep it up.”

CMPD Chief Kerr Putney addresses police department about upcoming retirement

“Chief Putney made a commitment to Charlotte to lead our security efforts during the RNC and I know that is important to him,” Jones said. “Because of his experience with the city’s efforts for the DNC in 2012 and his involvement with the current RNC planning, I want him to return and believe this approach gives us the best opportunity to host a more successful RNC for our residents, business community and visitors while also helping Chief Putney meet his personal commitments.”

Putney joined CMPD in 1992 as a patrol officer, and held a variety of patrol, training and specialized assignments at various ranks before he was promoted to deputy chief of police in 2007.

He was sworn in as Charlotte’s chief of police in the summer of 2015.

CMPD Chief Kerr Putney to retire

According to Putney’s biography on the city’s website, he earned a bachelor of science degree in criminology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a master’s degree in criminology from East Carolina University.

“Jones and Putney have been working on a thoughtful transition process that includes input from other stakeholders,” the letter read.

In a letter, Charlotte City Manager Marcus D. Jones announced Monday that Putney will retire at the end of 2019 and return in the spring to continue his work around community policing.
In a letter, Charlotte City Manager Marcus D. Jones announced Monday that Putney will retire at the end of 2019 and return in the spring to continue his work around community policing. (Source: City of Charlotte)

Former CMPD Chief Darrel Stephens says he was surprised when he heard about Putney’s retirement, but relieved when he heard that Putney would be back for the RNC.

“I think Kerr has done a terrific job as police chief, and at times when urban police chiefs in America have faced some of the most difficult challenges they’ve ever faced in my career. Mine goes back to 1968," Stephens said. "I think in the environment he’s working with, he’s done a great job at working with the community and being honest and forthright about the different issues and I think he’s going to be missed as police chief, for sure.”

Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles spoke to reporters Monday about Putney retiring.

“When he says it’s important for him to take a break to be with his family, I believe that," said Lyles.

She noted that she has worked with Putney for a long time and is proud of him for the work he has done.

“What I really am proud of the chief for doing, is one, serving 30 years in a city and a police force where he became a leader,” noted Lyles.

Ed Driggs, a longtime member of the Charlotte City Council, said he wasn’t surprised that Putney was leaving, but was disappointed. He spoke highly of the man who has led the CMPD for the last four years.

“I thought his leadership qualities were fantastic. When we had to choose a successor to the prior chief, there was a consensus among the council members then and the deputies, this was the right guy for the job," said Driggs.

The councilman noted that he is very pleased Putney won’t be cutting ties with the department prior to the RNC.

“I’m so glad he didn’t. I think he’s very committed to Charlotte. He’s done a fabulous job for us," said Driggs.

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