There will be major security challenges with a large event like the 2020 Republican National Convention, and some Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers say they are considering an early retirement, not wanting to stick around to see how it plays out.
“It’s a lot of long hours, no days off, for at least a few weeks,” Fraternal Order of Police President Mark Michalec said.
As the officers look ahead toward the RNC, some say things may not look good for them during those weeks.
“It’s definitely a strain,” Michalec said. “We’re not recouping as fast as we need to. That’s a major concern with the officers around here.”
A shortage of officers is a real concern for now, and certainly for the big political convention two years from now, Michalec says.
He estimates a current shortage of 100 to 200 officers within the department.
Some who have stuck around experienced the protests during the 2012 Democratic National Convention, and say they are concerned over what 2020 could bring.
“Wearing the gear in the middle of summer, sweating, God knows what being thrown at them, being said to them, just being degraded,” Michalec said.
Michalec said some senior officers have a bitter taste in their mouths after not getting the full raise they recently asked for. Some, he said, would rather retire than face the controversy an event like the RNC could bring.
“You may have that windfall of officers leaving,” he said.
With all that said, Michalec said he trusts the department will handle the large event when it arrives. A $50 million federal grant will all go toward security and filtering in other agencies for help during that time.