Crime & Courts

In interview, CMPD Chief Monroe says making police department more diverse is ‘a challenge’

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe says his department is hurting in its efforts to have a police force that reflects the diversity of the community it represents.

Monroe was interviewed Thursday alongside other chiefs from mid-sized cities during a segment about diversity in policing on the CBS Evening News. The interview aired hours after a court hearing for Randall Kerrick, a CMPD officer charged with voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of an unarmed black man in September 2013.

Charlotte’s population is 35 percent black, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The department that serves it is about 19 percent black.

Some of Monroe’s statements were aired on the news program; others were shared with the Observer by its news partner, WBTV, a CBS affiliate.

CBS reporter Jeff Pegues asked Monroe for his reaction to the spate of police shootings involving white officers and black men.

“I think it was unfortunate and I think it’s an issue that’s occurring in different ways in different places across the country,” Monroe told the network. “That’s what people are really struggling with – how do we get through these instances and communicate with our communities in a way that allows us to move forward.”

Monroe said a fear of law enforcement by some in minority communities makes it hard to recruit a diverse police force.

In 2015, the department is partnering with Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools to offer a law enforcement curriculum to high school students in two of the city’s high-minority high schools, Monroe said. He didn’t say which schools.

“It’s gonna take time,” Monroe said. “But we recognize it as a challenge.”

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