CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Charlotte has named Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s newest chief of police: Deputy Chief Johnny Jennings.
City leaders made the announcement in a surprise press conference Wednesday morning. Mayor Vi Lyles called it a “new era" as she congratulated Jennings.
“Please join us in congratulating DC Jenning as we look forward to introducing him as the next Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Chief of Police in September 2020,” CMPD tweeted.
At the end of 2019, Kerr Putney altered his plans to retire as CMPD’s chief of police, pushing the date past the Republic National Convention set to take place in Charlotte.
“I intend to retire,” said Chief Putney. “It will not be January 1, 2020.”
Putney told WBTV News that he planned to stay in his position through the “preparation and execution” of the Republican National Convention in late August but didn’t give an exact retirement date.
Jennings says he’s looking forward to transitioning into the role over the next few months, while working with Putney.
Jennings was named deputy chief just a few years ago.
City manager says they cast a net out looking for candidates and say Jennings ended up head shoulders above the rest. Mayor Lyles says Jennings background makes him a fit for both policing and community engagement.
Jennings says it’s too early to list is biggest to-do’s as he works with Putney over the next few months before swearing in.
Putney first announced his plans to retire in October.
At that time, the city announced that Putney planned to retire at the end of the year but then come back in March to serve as chief through the Republican National Convention, before stepping down again. The chief and the city all agreed that was a workable plan.
But when WBTV started asking the State Treasurer’s office how this would all work with current state retirement laws, the treasurer said this retirement plan wasn’t allowed.
Putney told WBTV News there is “no doubt I’m leaving money on the table” by changing his retirement plans but was quick to add it’s not about money.
“As long as my people are OK we’re going to conquer everything ahead of us... and then I’ll decide what’s next,” said Putney.
The Chief planned to take time off in early 2020 for vacation with family.
“I’m going to retire eventually,” he said. “I’m kind of liking this job.”