CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - In a one-on-one interview with WBTV Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said that other partners in the criminal justice system need to “step up.” Putney said that CMPD has done as much as it can to fight the rising homicide count and that accountability needs to be shared.
“The other criminal justice partners they have to step up, hold these repeat violent offenders accountable,” Chief Putney said.
“I was saying it in the summer I’m saying it now I’m going to continue to say it until we have some movement.”
CMPD reports that there have been 97 homicides in Charlotte this year, far more than any year in recent history. Putney has previously said that CMPD receives too much attention for the homicide rate when other agencies also share the burden for fixing the problem.
“At this point do you feel like everyone in the criminal justice system is taking responsibility for what’s happening with the homicide rate in the city of Charlotte?” WBTV Investigative Reporter David Hodges asked Putney.
“I feel like the police department has,” Putney said.
“But not some of the others?” Hodges asked.
“I feel like the police department has. You need to ask them what they’ve done,” Putney said.
"I can tell you what we’ve done. Violent crime arrests are up 18 percent, we’ve increased the number of illegal guns seized from the street, our people are engaging with the community in ways we never have, we’re having a huge policy change in the area of use of force.
“We fundamentally changed and improved the way we’ve done business. Ask the rest of the partners if they’ve done so,” Putney said.
Putney focused on the issue of repeat violent offenders and how the problem has provided fuel to the violent crime problem in Charlotte.
“Have we gone too far with how some of these violent offenders are getting out on a relatively short timeline?” Hodges asked.
“I think the beginning at its core was flawed,” Putney said.
"The intent is low level non violent offenders and we (CMPD) continue to give them second chances."
"However repeat violent offenders is a totally different and separate and apart topic. It is much more threatening to the safety of the community than low level first time offenders and that’s why we have to be strategic."
“We can’t lump them all into the same category. We gotta be specific and intentional about how we go after repeat offenders s that we can have that accountability and we can reduce violent crime.”
Putney also called for more investments to be made in community programs that support youth and community engagement in historically dangerous neighborhoods.
“There’s money that exists, we need to invest in those programs that work and we to do so yesterday,” Putney said.