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CMS police chief Cesena retires

By Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
cwootson@charlotteobserver.com

Bud Cesena, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools police chief, has retired – a sudden departure just days after he was placed on administrative leave for reasons school leaders won’t discuss.

School spokeswoman Tahira Stalberte and Randy Hagler, the new interim chief, declined to talk about the reason for Cesena’s administrative leave or retirement. Cesena could not be reached Monday. A woman who identified herself as his wife answered the phone and told the Observer “sometimes people just retire.”

Cesena was put on leave Wednesday afternoon pending an internal investigation, the school district said last week. His retirement was official on Friday.

School board members have declined to comment on how long they had been considering the decision to put Cesena on leave. Board member Rhonda Lennon said she was not aware of any outside investigation.

Cesena has been chief since November 2006. Before that, he spent more than three decades at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

He was the face of CMS during school security emergencies, but often advised city and county leaders about issues regarding classroom safety, including the recent debate about whether more people should have access to guns in schools.

At an April meeting of the Charlotte City Council’s community safety committee, he advised against legislation in the General Assembly that would allow teachers to carry guns in schools.

“It’s insane to allow teachers to carry firearms in school,” he told the committee. “Teachers’ jobs are to teach. Police officers’ jobs are to protect.”

Hagler, the interim chief, said he will not seek to be appointed as permanent CMS chief.

Wootson: 704-358-5046; Twitter: @CleveWootson
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