City News

Police move into rent-free quarters

To get to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Capt. Jeff Estes' temporary office, walk past the spotless kitchen, through the carpeted living room and into a small corner bedroom.

Well, a converted bedroom, at least.

While the permanent headquarters on East Seventh Street undergoes construction to better fit the 70-plus person unit, the CMPD's Central Division has temporarily moved to The Fourth Ward Square apartment complex near Eighth and Graham streets.

“It makes me feel very secure,” said manager Brian Michaels, “not only for us working, but for the residents.”

Ownership planned on razing the complex and building new condos, but plans stalled. A few residents moved back, and police were offered free rent, with only utilities to pay.

Many of the Fourth Ward Square residents and others in nearby apartments and condos like the sense of safety a constant police presence provides.

“I've seen them at 2 a.m.,” said resident Debbie Goodman. “You know they're always close.”

Estes, the division's commander, doesn't see it as a drastic change.

“Other than administratively,” he said, referring to his officers often being on patrol, “we're not here.”

The Central Division will return to its permanent location around the end of September. For now, the routine stays mostly the same for the division's officers. During a rainy day last week, officers in cruisers and on bicycles buzzed in and out of the complex every few minutes.

“It's just a roof for us,” Estes said. “As you can see, it works just fine.”