Police say Charlotte residents are likely to see as many – or more – officers along their neighborhood streets during next month’s Democratic National Convention, thanks to longer shifts and an influx of thousands of officers from around the country.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Deputy Chief Harold Medlock told the Observer on Friday that additional officers will arrive sometime shortly before Labor Day, Sept. 3, when organizers kick off convention events with a festival uptown.
CMPD currently employs 1,760 sworn officers. For security reasons, Medlock declined to say how many outside officers will head to Charlotte for the DNC, but police have said the number is “in the thousands.”
“You’re going to see a lot of different uniforms,” Medlock said.
The officers will come from both small and large departments across North and South Carolina and from departments along the East Coast, Medlock said. In an interview with WBTV, Police Chief Rodney Monroe said CMPD will bring in police from Virginia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Wisconsin, Colorado and Texas. The outside officers have received extensive training either online or face-to-face, Medlock said. And none will hit Charlotte streets until they’ve completed that training.
Those officers’ responsibilities will be directly related to the convention, Medlock said, although some will be assigned to venues of concern outside uptown.
“The majority of those coming to help are dedicated to the center city,” Medlock said.
That means that across the rest of the city, many of the officers on neighborhood streets during the DNC will be the same Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers working those areas now.
In his interview with WBTV, Monroe said police will be watching.
“This would be the worst time for anyone to think about doing something along the criminal lines,” he told the TV station.
Medlock said CMPD has canceled days off and vacation days, as well as off-duty jobs, for its officers during the week of the DNC.
“All of those things are gone,” Medlock said. “We’re the police. We have to be here.”
Medlock said the department’s investigative units, such as the robbery or homicide units, will be “very functional, very operational.”
Officers will work 12-hour shifts instead of the typical eight-hour shifts. The switch will allow the department to more easily oversee and manage its officers and increase its manpower at any given time, Medlock said.
“It actually allows us to put more officers on the streets than we normally have.”