All sworn CMPD officers getting more active shooter training in response to mass shootings across the country

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Johnny Jennings spoke to WBTV about the special training in a recent interview.
Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 6:52 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Every sworn officer with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is getting more active shooter training in response to mass shootings that have happened across the country.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Johnny Jennings spoke to WBTV about the special training in a recent interview.

According to police, the training costs about $60,000 and is being funded by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Foundation.

Jennings confirmed to WBTV that the officers have been getting extra training because of incidents that have happened across the country.

“It’s one of those trainings you hope you never have to use, but when you look across the country at different events that have been happening, it’s something that we have to be cognizant of, and say that we want to make sure we’re as best prepared as we can possibly be,” explained Jennings.

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Like other law enforcement leaders across the country, Jennings is aware of the scrutiny local law enforcement in Texas received after the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. 19 students and two teachers were shot and killed. Several other people were injured in the mass shooting.

Surveillance footage from inside the elementary school showed law enforcement officers waiting in the school hallways before confronting the gunman.

“I’m not here to criticize or lay judgment on their response because I wasn’t there and I’m not part of their agency, however what I can do is say that Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department does train differently and our response would not be similar to what we saw in Uvalde,” Jennings told WBTV.

In recent weeks, CMPD officers have been getting additional active shooter training at the department’s de-escalation training facility.

Jennings said he is thankful the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Foundation has funded the extra training.

“The police foundation has been a rock for CMPD and this is just one example of the things that I’m able to make that phone call and do things that we no longer would not do or we’d be scrambling trying to find money to do it,” said Jennings.

Scott Harris, the chair of the police foundation, explained why we was willing to support the CMPD with the funding for additional training.

“I have two children that have grown up in Charlotte. I have three grandchildren. I never want that to happen to my family but I never want that to happen to anyone else and I especially don’t want Charlotte to be tarnished with that,” said Harris.

Sgt. Brad Potter with the CMPD knows what it’s like to respond to an active shooter situation. He was one of several officers who rushed to the campus of UNC- Charlotte on April 30, 2019.

“I remember it like it was yesterday. The active-shooter call was popping up in our queue,” Potter recalled in an interview with WBTV.

He said he was one of the first officers into the classroom where shots had been fired soon after the shooter had been apprehended.

“Your training is what kicks in. Your training is what will help lead you,” explained Potter.

He said that he thinks the additional training for officers is a great idea and will only benefit the department and its officers.

“I think it’s a great decision. We already do a good amount of training throughout the year, but especially with in light of how prevalent active shooter and mass casualty incidents are becoming, getting us more exposure, getting us more training, more hands-on experience there, it can only help us,” said Potter.