Few people are better at "gaming the system" than liberals, unless you consider CMPD Command Staff.
What was supposed to give North Carolina police departments an officer retention tool, has become a misused glitch in the system than lends itself to cronyism and abuse.
Former CMPD Chief Kerr Putney's failed attempt to game the system blew up when he made the very public announcement that he would return to CMPD after retiring, via the hire back program.
In the past dozens of CMPD Officers have retired and began to collect their pension at taxpayer expense only to return to work after a much enjoyed vacation. Effectively "double dipping" at the expense of taxpayers.
The retention idea in theory was good except, at CMPD the only people offered "hire back status" have been the command white shirts and those who drank the Kool-Aid and showed unquestionable love of command's demand of conformity.
Putney's error was publicly stating his intentions. Under state statue, public employees can only collect a pension after "complete separation from active service with no intent or agreement, expressed or implied, to return to service."
Vicki Foster was not about to make the same mistake, in fact Foster made it very clear she had no intention of returning.
But is anyone surprised by her return?
At a time when CMPD staffing is at a critical low, it would seem the hire back program would be a benefit and an excellent way to keep "boots on the street".
But few career patrol duty officers and sergeants return to CMPD. While good investigators are welcomed, few investigators who have "retired" circle back to CMPD. The few who have often stay only long enough to pad their bank account or clear that one last case.
Even so its patrol where experience and knowledge is most critical. Career officers often lose touch with the community once they join the ranks of Command staff. Many rank and file will say those who advance lose touch with reality.
In Charlotte like so many large cities it is the uniform and marked patrol unit that is the real face of CMPD and place where experience and years of service are most valuable. Yet the hire back program in this regard is a troubling failure.