Airport Police Officers To Lose Law Enforcement Powers

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CHARLOTTE, N.C.–Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police received control of the Airport Police at Charlotte Douglas in December, 2012. Last August, 17 Airport Police Officers sued the city of Charlotte over the transfer of power.

The attorney representing those officers plans to file new documents Friday that include details of a meeting Wednesday where airport police were told they would lose all of their law enforcement powers on March 28. After that date, they will be employed as security guards, lose their retirement benefits, and their law enforcement licenses.

The court documents say, if they want, they can be one of the first of the 35 new airport security guards the city plans to hire. Court documents show this is the exact opposite of what CMPD Chief Rodney Monroe told them in November, 2012 that “The officers would become part of the CMPD ‘family’ and be treated like all other CMPD officers, paid based upon their experience, training, education and rank.”

The Airport Police officers have the option to become CMPD officers, but, according to the documents, must accept second-class status and work for superiors with less experience and training.

“The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department fully supports the City of Charlotte’s corporate security model in conjunction with a traditional police presence as the “best practice” for Charlotte International Airport safety and security,” said a statement from CMPD.

Regardless, frequent fliers say safety should not be compromised. “I think it should be somebody with some criteria, with some type of experience, you know, monitoring this thing here,” said East Charlotte Resident Valerie Martinez.

A statement from the city reads in part, “The Airport and CMPD are confident that we will be able to provide the highest level of safety and security for our passengers and business partners in an efficient and effective manner.”