Council Members Say They Want Chief Monroe To Stay

CHARLOTTE, NC – Charlotte’s top cop is retiring after seven years on the job. Now, the question on many minds is, “Why now?”

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe announced his retirement Monday. His last day will be July 1.

Since Monroe stepped into his role in 2008, he has been on the streets at crime scenes and controversial community events. Monroe also stood on the front lines during protests at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

“He has the utmost respect from the private sector and the folks in the community,” said Councilman Kenny Smith. 

After the announcement, Councilman David Howard said, “I wish him well, but I definitely hate to see him go.”

Monroe is leaving the department on July 1, which is 19 days before CMPD Officer Wes Kerrick goes to trial for voluntary manslaughter after the 2013 shooting death of Jonathan Ferrell.

Last week, the City of Charlotte and CMPD settled a civil suit with Ferrell’s family for $2.25 million. The settlement was decided before the council saw evidence in the case.

Some city council members say they think the timing of Monroe’s retirement in relation to the settlement is just a coincidence.

“I don’t think the two are connected,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Michael Barnes. 

“I don’t know if they’re related or not. That would just be speculation on my part,” said Smith. 

In a news release to WCCB Charlotte on Monday, Monroe said, “I’m honored to have served as your chief for seven years. CMPD has experienced historic crime reductions, fostered trust and built upon established community partnerships.”

That is partly true. 

CMPD investigated 42 homicides last in 2014, which is the lowest number since police started keeping track in the 70’s.

But the latest stats from CMPD, released in April, show Charlotte’s first uptick in crime since Monroe has been been chief.

The number of violent crime jumped almost 21 percent through March.

Overall crime is also up, and so are murders. There were 18 murders through March, compared to 10 in the first three months of last year.

As for the Chief’s replacement, the city wont say if it will be an internal hire. 

“We do have a great bench in the police department, really strong deputies,” said City Manager Ron Carlee, “I expect that we will move quickly because this is high priority.” 

Some council members say they want Monroe to stay.

“We’re trying to figure out whether there’s some other option,” said Barnes.

“As a citizen and a member of council, I really would like to see if he would reconsider and stay,” said Smith.

Monroe makes just shy of $212,000. A city spokesperson says Information on Chief Monroe’s replacement will be made available later this week.