CMPD recruits experienced officers to fill positions

CMPD recruits experienced officers to fill positions

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is struggling to find qualified recruits as the crime rate rises in the Queen City.

There were 38 new recruits who started training Monday, but they won't hit the streets for six months.

The department has a new strategy to get more officers on the streets faster.

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Gwen Johnson never gets used to the gunfire in her neighborhood off Tuckaseegee Road, and when someone peppered a home with bullets recently, she said it was one more reason why they need more police on the streets.

CMPD is still about 150 officers short of where the department would like to be even with more than 30 officers that graduated in April.

Tensions in Charlotte and around the country have made it tough to find young people who want to be police officers, officials said.

It takes six months to train recruits to become police officers so now the CMPD is recruiting experienced officers from other departments.

“We'll talk to everybody,” Capt. Dave Robinson said. “Particularly those who have experience in law enforcement elsewhere, in North Carolina or beyond.”

Robinson said it takes only about half the time to train those officers and when they do hit the streets, they'll bring some experience with them.

“We look at what their training record has been and assimilate them quickly into what we do,” he said.

Starting pay for CMPD officers is around $43,000 a year. Police Department officials said that's competitive with other agencies where they might be recruiting.