What should have been a hard hitting interview, ha! turned into a public service announcement promoting Rodney Monroe. The warm and fuzzy feel good about "me" interview won't earn WCNC's Sonja Gantt an Emmy, but we will give her an appropriate award at the end on this post.
From WCNC: Infomercial
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is facing turbulent times after three officers have been disciplined for everything from accusations of sex in public to sexually assaulting women while on duty.
"I was highly offended," Chief Rodney Monroe said about hearing of the arrest of Officer Marcus Jackson.
Jackson was fired in December 2009 after allegations he sexually assaulted six women while on duty. In January, an officer resigned after allegations he had sex in a restaurant bathroom while on duty. Another officer was placed on administrative leave with pay last week after a domestic violence arrest.
The chief worries about the impact of officer misconduct on the community.
"That's why it's so hard when somebody breaks that trust and respect. It's not just about violating a policy or law, it's more about violating that trust," Monroe said.
Monroe said he offered encouragement to his officers after Jackson's arrest.
"This Jackson case -- no matter how horrific it may be -- it's not a reflection of them. It's not what they do each and every day, and they have to continue to be proud of what they do," Monroe said.
The chief is proud of the changes he's put in place, including 40 more marked cars on the street.
"You go to the movies or church or other places or just driving around, and, you know, people are seeing police everywhere," Monroe said. "We haven't really increased our numbers that much but we've increased our visibility."
Monroe also gave Charlotte's patrol captains more decision-making power.
"The bread and butter of what we do is in those neighborhoods," Monroe said.
And with that power comes more accountability.
"If you have a goal of reducing robberies by 20 percent, we go in and look at how you're doing, what strategies you are employing," Monroe said.
Another change: Monroe requires reports every 28 days, rather than every nine weeks, and leaders at all levels meet weekly.
"A lot of people say, 'Oh, Monday morning meetings,' but in order to stay focused, to stay engaged in what we are doing every day," Monroe said.
The chief celebrates what he believes are safer streets. The latest crime statistics show overall crime in Charlotte is down 17 percent when compared to this time last year. Property crime is down by 19 percent.
He says the results are hard-earned. Monroe resents the implication by some that he's manipulating the numbers.
"It would take a great conspiracy for me to manipulate that," he said. "You know, we've got less homicide victims. Am I hiding bodies? That's not the case."
Still, Monroe says there's plenty of hard work ahead.
"We need to get to know the people that we are hiring," he said.
Jackson had been on the force for less than a year. His case led to changes at the training academy. The chief has added staff and ordered a change in how background checks are done.
"A lot of it was being done by the phone. I call up a reference, I call up an employer and get what I get, and some of that needs to have some face-to-face so that you can see people's expressions," Monroe said.
Some criticized the department, saying that Jackson was a young officer and wasn't properly supervised.
"Sergeants respond to certain critical incidents and so forth, but they can't be there for every incident that may occur," Monroe said.
By summer, there will be 125 more officers on the street. In the fall, a new district attorney will take charge.
As Charlotte's chief, Monroe knows some of the changes he has made weren't popular but he believes they were right.
"But I think if nothing else we can say we did it for the right reason, for the right people and we are getting the right results," Monroe said.
The chief is hoping that his officers will get a raise this year. He's hoping that by holding off on his request for additional officers, it might be more likely to happen.
And now for Ms. Gantt's well deserved video acknowledgement. No this is not PC!