CMPD chief delays retirement for 2020 RNC, braces for high command staff departures

Kerr Putney, chief of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
Kerr Putney, chief of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. Observer file photo

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police say of the 109 members of the department’s command staff, 34 could potentially retire between now and the Republican National Convention in 2020.

In an interview with WBTV, Chief Kerr Putney acknowledged that it’s a high number of retirements that could hit the ranks from lieutenant up to chief.

“Yes it is. It is,” Putney said. ”And, if you go out five years it’s even higher. But, it’s just like back in the ’90s when we had the big hiring move when we got a lot of people coming on now they’re nearing retirement. About a third of our command will turn over in the next three years or so.”

With the RNC set to arrive in Charlotte in 2020, a lot of upper level department experience could be walking out the door.

“I can retire prior to but I’ve decided I’m going to stay through it,” Putney revealed publicly for the first time.

Putney joined the department in 1992. He says based on his start date, he’s eligible to retire in early 2020. But, he has decided to delay his departure.

“The only reason I’ve decided to stay is because of the RNC. I don’t want to have any disruption in our leadership prior to. I don’t think it would be good for the city and I don’t like leaving business undone,” the chief said in an interview Friday morning.

Putney said he had discussions with the city manager.

“I was torn to be quite frank with you. At the end of the day, I knew I couldn’t leave business that was incomplete as far as I’m concerned so we came to some agreements with me staying through. I’m happy to do so and I think it gives us as an organization some continuity.”

He continued, “When your time is up and you can go after roughly 30 years in this world – you’re ready to go but I have a little bit of energy left and I’m excited about the opportunity in 2020.”

The department is facing retirements from others in the executive command – which includes the rank of major, deputy chief, assistant chief and chief.

WBTV is an Observer news partner.