CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is short dozens of officers and, after four officers were injured in a wreck Friday night, the force is stretched even thinner.
Two police SUVs collided as officers searched for a murder suspect.
[4 CMPD officers hurt after police cars collide responding to call]
"There is one who is having an operation as we speak to fix multiple fractures in his arm," CMPD Capt. Jonathan Thomas said. "All the officers had concussions."
Thomas heads the Metro Division, where the four officers are assigned.
"Everybody is worried about their fellow officers," Thomas said.
The Metro Division is allotted 101 officers, but there are 84 currently employed.
The number of officers injured or on military leave brings that number to 72 – a 30% reduction.
Part of the issue is openings the department has not been able to fill. There are 170 open positions. Add another 63 current officers who are on light duty citywide and that brings the unavailable number of spots to more than 230.
"We need those officers to be healthy and to be in the community doing what needs to be done," said Will Adams, with Team TruBlue.
The community group has been fighting the violence plaguing the area. Adams said it's not all on the police.
"You could put 5,000 police out here," Adams said. "If we don't start loving each other, it ain't gonna change, man."
The officers injured Friday night told the captain they want to return to the force as soon as possible. One of them applied a tourniquet saving the life of the shooting victim.
"When I walk in the hospital room, the first thing he asked is if, ‘that guy I put the tourniquet on, did he make it?'" Thomas said. "That shows the level of commitment these officers have."
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