CMS exploring law enforcement program in high schools

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is in preliminary conversations with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department to introduce law enforcement-related classes in high schools.

CMS spokeswoman Stacy Sneed described the program as in the “exploratory” stage. There is no timetable set for implementing it, and the idea has not been brought to the school board.

The idea was raised publicly in an interview Thursday with Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Chief Rodney Monroe on CBS Evening News.

Monroe said the department would be working with CMS in the next year to put together a law enforcement curriculum in two high schools with large minority populations. Monroe did not name specific high schools as possibilities, nor did CMS on Friday.

In the interview, Monroe said the program could help with the challenges the department has had in recruiting a diverse corps of officers. Part of the problem, Monroe said, comes from a fear of police among some people in minority communities.

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

The program could be similar to one CMS has created with the Charlotte Fire Department.

Providence and Butler high schools now offer a career and technical education firefighter technology course that train students in fire-fighting techniques by re-enacting missions.

Students learn how to use protective equipment, how fire moves and how to rescue people. After graduation, students can apply to be members of the fire department.