Former Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Chief Rodney Monroe, who revamped a department, watched over the Democratic National Convention, and helped keep the peace after a controversial shooting by one of his officers, is now handling security for a sprawling Coca-Cola distribution network based in Tampa, Fla.
As director of safety and security for the new Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, Monroe oversees seven sales and distribution centers employing some 1,100 employees in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Fort Myers, Sarasota, Lakeland and several other central Florida cities.
Monroe, according to a statement from the Florida group, “brings significant experience in safety and security to the CCBF team.” He served as police chief in Charlotte-Mecklenburg for seven years. He also headed police departments in Macon, Ga., and Richmond, Va., and formerly worked as an officer in Washington, D.C.
A spokeswoman for Monroe’s new employer said the former chief was traveling this week and not available for an interview. A call to the cell phone of his wife, Marvette Monroe, was not returned Wednesday.
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His Florida job apparently grew from local ties. During his time in Charlotte, Monroe became good friends with Reginald Goins, a regional Coke executive stationed in Charlotte. Goins was named president and chief operation officer of the Florida group in October. Goins was not available for comment this week.
Coke announced that it had finalized a partnership with the Florida group on June 1, about 10 days after Monroe announced his retirement. At the time, the 58-year-old police chief said he had no plans other than playing more golf.
The timing of his departure continues to raise questions. Monroe’s last day on the job came only two weeks before the start of the highly publicized manslaughter trial of one of his officers, Randall “Wes” Kerrick. Two years ago, Kerrick shot Jonathan Ferrell during a brief encounter east of Charlotte.
A few hours after Ferrell’s death, Kerrick’s attorneys say a commanding officer told their client to go home and have a beer. Later in the day, when he announced Kerrick’s arrest, Monroe called the shooting excessive and unlawful.
Some city leaders say the chief’s decision to make a quick arrest helped Charlotte avoid the violence that hit other places after police shootings. However, Monroe has been heavily criticized in some circles for leading “a rush to judgment” against Kerrick, then leaving his job so close to a trial that focused heavily on CMPD training and operations.
“He could not get out of town fast enough,” said Kerrick attorney George Laughrun, who believes Monroe retired in part to avoid tough questioning about Kerrick’s arrest and his leadership once the evidence became public.
The trial ended with a jury voting 8-4 to acquit. Monroe was on the witness list, but never called.
According to city records, Monroe was paid $222,603 in 2014. He received some $168,000 through the first six months of 2015, which included a payout for unused vacation and sick time.
State records indicate that on July 1, Monroe started collecting a N.C. pension of $3,474.37 per month. He also receives $207 a week from the city as part of temporary separation allowance for law enforcement officers. That would bring his total pension for his Charlotte years to more than $52,450 a year. When Monroe was hired, the city also agreed to contribute $1,000 each month to his retirement savings plan.
Property records indicate the Monroes still own their Charlotte home.