CHARLOTTE, N.C. — FOX 46 is learning more about what led to CMPD Chief Kerr Putney’s retirement announcement.
The Fratneral Order of Police says it was the chief’s decision to step down, and a spokesperson says he doesn’t think Putney is being forced out.
“I don’t think he’s purposefully leaving due to a specific reason. It’s time and he’s made that determination that personally this is the best time for him to retire,” the spokesperson said.
Putney announced Monday that he is retiring effective January 1, 2020, for personal reasons and to focus on family according to Mayor Vi Lyles, but the chief will be coming back.
“I’m not quite done city manager’s decided he’s going to hire me back,” Putney said in a video posted to Youtube.
Putney will work to help find his replacement and oversee security for the 2020 Republican National Convention in August.
The Fraternal Order is hoping they’ll get a seat at the table to discuss Putney’s replacement.
“If you go internally, it’s great, but at the same time you’re kind of supporting the same type of leadership that’s been in place. If you go outside there’s a learning curve with trying to bring a new chief up to speed.”
Putney has dealt with a tumultuous city in his three years as chief, including the 2016 protests following the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, a skyrocketing number of homicides in 2017 and even more murders and violent crimes this year.
“He has to make the tough decisions sometimes the officers favored, sometimes the community favors it, you’re never going to get a 100 percent outcome that everybody likes.”
Putney has taken on judges for giving lenient sentences and letting repeat offenders out on bail. He’s also been challenged with a staggering increase in violent crime, including 83 homicides in Charlotte so far this year.
However, some FOX 46 viewers have said that they just don’t feel safe.
“The safety of Charlotte with 80 murders already this… I don’t feel Charlotte is a safe city to visit or to go downtown,” one neighbor said.
We took some of your concerns to CMPD last week and just today they responded with a statement saying:
“Officer activity is up, arrests are up, the number of guns officers have taken off the street this year is up.
People continue to allow minor conflicts to develop into deadly outcomes. The CMPD will continue to hold ourselves accountable and expect equal accountability across the entire criminal justice system as well as the community.”
A press conference further explaining Putney’s decision was supposed to be held Wednesday, Oct. 9, but it was cancelled Tuesday evening, with CMPD saying:
“The intention for our transition plan is a solution that is in the best interests of the city, the residents of Charlotte and Chief Kerr Putney. There is no intent to circumvent the law. The statute does not prohibit hiring back a retiree, which is a widely accepted practice across the country. The statute defines retirement but does not define the terms by which a retiree may return for limited service. We plan to have Chief Putney return to the city in 2020 to run the day-to-day operations of our police department and lead security efforts surrounding the Republican National Convention next summer, while following all rules for retiree hire-backs. We will seek further clarification from the North Carolina retirement system.”