CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney takes over as the city braces for the manslaughter trial of Officer Randall Kerrick, which is set to begin July 20.
Kerrick is charged with killing Jonathan Ferrell, who was unarmed, in September 2013, and CMPD personnel have been training for possible unrest and meeting with community leaders to keep the peace.
Putney spoke to the preparations after his swearing-in ceremony ended.
RAW VIDEO: Kerr Putney sworn in as new CMPD chief
“We're ready for the trial. We're going to facilitate people's right to be heard, get their voices out there, to demonstrate and protest. We are not going to allow criminal behavior,” he said.
City Manager Ron Carlee had chosen Putney without doing a nationwide search, drawing criticism from some within the department, but City Councilwoman Claire Fallon, the chairwoman of the council’s Public Safety Committee, said Putney is the right choice.
“You could've gone all around the country and not found anybody better. He's homegrown. The troops trust him. The people trust him,” Fallon said.
IMAGES: Kerr Putney sworn in as new Charlotte police chief
Putney is also stepping into the department after a significant jump in crime during the first three months of 2015. He said he will rely on a team approach to tackle that and other problems.
Charlotte’s Mayor Dan Clodfelter said he is confident Putney can handle the challenges he faces.
“Kerr has proven himself year after year after year, and I think we're going to see a very, very smooth transition of leadership here. In fact, we already have,” Clodfelter said.
He also appears to have the support of the local Fraternal Order of Police.
“He's always been supported Chief Monroe reaching out to us. I think he'll continue to do that too, by reaching out and asking our opinion,” said FOP President Todd Walther.
STORY: New CMPD chief Kerr Putney sworn in to rousing ovation
5 Things to Know: CMPD Deputy Chief Kerr Putney
- Kerr Putney is a deputy chief at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. He achieved the rank in 2007.
- Putney was a member of the 109th recruit class with CMPD in 1992.
- He is the deputy chief of the Administrative Services Group. He oversees the Training Bureau, the Administrative Services Bureau, the Planning and Research Division, Crime Analysis Division, the Communications Division, the Crime Reporting Unit, the Computer Technology Solutions Division, Professional Standards and Court Services.
- Putney was one of three finalists for the police chief position in Winston-Salem in 2013.
- He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a bachelor’s degree in criminology. He has a master’s degree in criminology from East Carolina University.