Incoming CMPD chief addresses police reform

CHARLOTTE — Charlotte’s streets have been flooded with protesters demanding police reform, and in a few days, CMPD will get a new chief.

Johnny Jennings will take over the position held by Kerr Putney, who retires on July 1.

“People are surprised to hear that, even me as a deputy chief, that I have been stopped recently, and I still get the same butterflies of what’s getting ready to happen here.

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Jennings is stepping up to lead CMPD knowing the concerns of minorities who are being racially profiled.

The 28-year veteran said he's heard the outcry for change.

“You know what? Some of this is to make us better,” Jennings said. “It’s not anything to do against the police, and once officers can see we are going to improve based on this. And I think officers will buy in and that’s going to be a challenge initially.”

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Anchor Erica Bryant asked Jennings: “Some people say there are bad apples in police departments. Are there bad apples in CMPD and how do you plan to address that?”

“There are bad apples everywhere,” Jennings said. “Difference is, when you are talking about authority police have. That bad apple has a greater effect on the citizens we serve. All of our officers are deserving of due process when they step out of bounds, and we look to take corrective action. How do we get them back on track? If that means citing for termination, then we are not afraid to do that as well.”

He agrees there is more room for reform and asks the public to stay engaged in the process.

“Instead of making demands, let’s work together and we’ll see what we need to do from that point,” Jennings said.