• CMPD addresses security following ambush at headquarters

    By: Paul Boyd


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - There's a shattered sense of security at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg headquarters after Thursday night's ambush attack on police officers.

    [CMPD chief on homicide suspect: 'He ambushed us, he shot at us']

    Police said Jonathan Bennett, a homicide suspect, ambushed officers in their own parking lot, opening fire on several of them Thursday night. Officers fired back, killing Bennett.

    ['Officer down': Dispatch audio paints chaotic scene of CMPD shootout]

    One officer was injured and will be OK. The suspect was shot to death after officers returned fire.

    The shooting raises a simple question, “Is enough is being done to protect the men and women who protect our city every day?”

    CMPD Police Chief Kerr Putney addressed the issue in the immediate aftermath of the attack.

    "It's a public building, but we're going to have to think about how we can keep ourselves safe within it," Putney said.

    CMPD acknowledges that it's reviewing its security plan and sources say some protocol is already changing.

    CMPD sent the following email to employees addressing the concerns:

    “As we continue to evaluate security measures related to access to CMPD headquarters, we have determined that there is an immediate need to control access to the facility in order to enhance our ability to protect our most important asset, you.

    “Effective today, Jan. 12, 2018 at 1700 hours, we will be implementing controlled access to CMPD HQ.

    "What this means is that the entryways to the main lobby (rotunda) will now be locked at all times and will require key card access or clearance from one of the officers at the security desk.

    “Citizens, the general public, media and contractors will still have access to the facility but must be cleared for entry by the officers working the rotunda.

    “Our goal is to continue to provide the best service we can while ensuring the safety of all who enter and/or occupy our facility.

    “Please don your ID badges, especially if you are in plainclothes, remain aware of your surroundings and do not hesitate to challenge anyone who is not in uniform or donning a recognizable badge.

    "Also, be aware of anyone in and around the CMPD parking deck and take measures to ensure that they are CMPD employees or other authorized users.”



    Channel 9 looked at what other leading police agencies have in place at their facilities including a secured garage area in Union County where the Sheriff's Office brings anyone who's been arrested. Spokesman Tony Underwood said deputies are fully shielded from the public.

    "This sally port just provides the officers that additional layer of security where anybody from the public doesn't have access to that officer or to that arrestee," Underwood said.

    The CMPD parking lot where the shooting happened is not likely to see extensive changes, according to sources, although fencing and controlled perimeter access could be considered. The inside of police headquarters could see improvements including additional bulletproof glass to protect officers.

    Other surrounding police agencies told Channel 9 Friday they are also reviewing their security procedures.

    "Ambush-style attacks. Officers out here doing their jobs. You know, it's a reminder every day that we can never take our security and our safety for granted," Underwood said.

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