Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Patrol for Truant Teens

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – “A lot of kids do leave school to go smoke marijuana,” said CMPD Detective, Mitzi Foster.

Skipping school is not an isolated problem to West Meck High School.

“Why are you not at school?” asks Det. Foster to a teen in the street.

But it’s where CMPD Detective Mitzi Foster is assigned, so when she sees kids out of school and smells dope, she searches bags.

“Perfume I carry around during day cause I got gym, ” says a truant teen. “Cause you might smoke dope or something?” says Det. Foster, “No ma’am,” says teen.  “Cause that’s what you smell like right now,” said Det. Foster.

Motorcycle officers search the woods around school for kids who ran off. Police say beyond doing drugs, neighbors say these teens are causing chaos around their homes.

“Other times it’s going to break into houses, break into cars, steal cars, fight,” said Det. Foster.

We rode up to the closest shopping center where there are complaints of kids hanging out. We found a boy who says he was suspended from school.

“He just said his dad wasn’t going to let him stay home while he was suspended so he was going to come here,” said Det. Foster.

Police say sometimes their presence alone gets kids back in school for example we pulled up and about 8-10 kids were hanging out behind Hawk Academy that’s next to West Meck, before police could get to them they ran back inside the building.

We found kids walking right down Tuckaseegee Road in clear view of police. Many flat out lie about their age to the officers.

But it’s not just about busting the truants, this teen was quickly released from cuffs. After a few calls Detective Foster got him back to school and with a counselor to deal with family issues.

” We just need to try and help people as best we can, and the parents, if they’re offered support we hope they take it,” said Detective Foster.