Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) is the police department of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, United States, which includes the City of Charlotte. With 1,817 officers and 525 civilian staff as of 2020, covering an area of 438 square miles (1,130 km2) with a population of nearly 900,000, it is the largest police department between Washington D.C. and Atlanta, Georgia.[1][3]

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department
Common nameCharlotte Police Department
Agency overview
Preceding agencies
  • Charlotte Police
  • Mecklenburg County Police
Employees2,342 (2020)
Annual budget$290 million (2021)[1]
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionCharlotte, North Carolina, United States
Governing bodyCharlotte City Council
General nature
Operational structure
Sworn members1,982 (2020)[2]
Unsworn members475[2]
Agency executive
  • Johnny Jennings, Chief of police
  • Aviation
  • S.W.A.T.
  • K-9
  • Scuba Team
  • Bomb Squad
  • Highway Interdiction Traffic Safety
  • Cyber Crimes
  • Crime Scene Search
  • Auxiliary Police
  • Street Crimes
  • Bike Unit
  • Animal Control & Animal Care
  • Central
  • North Tryon
  • North
  • Eastway
  • Metro
  • Westover
  • Providence
  • University City
  • Steele Creek
  • South
  • Independence
  • Hickory Grove
  • Freedom

The CMPD was formed in 1993 with the merger of the former Charlotte City Police Department and the Mecklenburg County Rural Police Department. Mecklenburg and neighboring Gaston County were the two counties out of the state's 100 counties to have county police in addition to the sheriff's offices. County police perform law enforcement tasks in the county with police powers anywhere in the county just like the sheriff, but the sheriff primarily handled the courts and jails. The North Carolina General Assembly approved legislation combining the two agencies.

The CMPD is by statute "county police" in that it has jurisdiction anywhere in Mecklenburg County.[4] The unique status of this situation makes the CMPD "metro" police.[5]


The CMPD is organized into the Office of the Chief of Police, who is assisted by five deputy chiefs.

Patrol services fall under the Field Services Group, headed by a deputy chief. The Field Services Group is divided into three service areas, each headed by a major. Each service area comprises four to five patrol divisions, each headed by a captain. Each patrol division consists of two response areas, each headed by a lieutenant.[6]

Other groups contain bureaus, headed by majors. Each bureau is also organized into divisions, commanded by captains, and units, commanded by sergeants.[6]


As of 2020, the department consisted of 475 unsworn and 1,982 sworn personnel, including 1 chief of police, five deputy chiefs, 14 majors, 35 captains, 45 lieutenants, 157 sergeants, and 1,725 detectives and officers.[2]

Service weaponEdit

CMPD officers are issued the Smith and Wesson M&P .40.

Rank structureEdit

Title Insignia Insignia (dress uniform cuff) Positions
Chief of Police 5 gold stripes Department Head
Deputy Chief 4 gold stripes Group CO
Major 3 gold stripes Bureau or Service Area
Captain 2 gold stripes Division[7]
Lieutenant Gold stripe Response Area[7]
Sergeant Unit
Detective No insignia
Police Officer No Insignia

The insignia of the Chief of Police was two gold stars until 2014, when Chief Rodney D. Monroe upgraded it to four stars.[8]

Former ranks
Title Insignia Insignia (dress uniform cuff) Dates used Notes
Assistant Chief 4 gold stripes 2017–2020 Created in 2017, in the role of assistant to the Chief of Police.[9] Discontinued by 2020.[10]
Staff Sergeant (Response Area Commander) 2008–2014 Introduced in 2008, response area commanders oversaw response areas within a district, and held the rank of staff sergeant. The rank of response area commander (staff sergeant)[11] served as a stop-gap rank before the rank of lieutenant was officially approved as a replacement.[5] The rank of lieutenant, used by the Charlotte Police Department until the 1990s, was reintroduced in 2011 for response area commanders; 26 sergeants were promoted to lieutenant in January 2012,[12] and by 2013 all response area commanders had been regraded as lieutenants.[13][14] However, the rank of staff sergeant was retained through 2014, when the remaining holders of the rank were promoted to lieutenant.[15][16]


Breakdown of the makeup of the rank and file of Charlote-Mecklenburg Police Department:[17]

  • Male: 86%
  • Female: 14%
  • White: 80%
  • Black: 18%
  • Hispanic: 1%
  • Asian: 1%


Shooting of Jonathan FerrellEdit

On September 13, 2013, 23-year-old Jonathan Ferrell was shot ten times and killed by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Officer Randall Kerrick, after Ferrell's car broke down and he had knocked on a person's door for help in the early hours of the morning. Police arrived at the scene in response to a report of suspicious behavior and possible breaking and entering. Ferrell was unarmed, refused police orders to stop, and continued running towards Kerrick. Ferrell was first Tasered and then shot. A lawsuit filed by Ferrell's family against the city was settled for $2.25 million in 2015. Kerrick is currently being tried for voluntary manslaughter. On August 21, 2015, the manslaughter charge was declared a mistrial on the basis of 8-4 jurors (in favor of acquittal).[18]

Shooting of Keith Lamont ScottEdit

The shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, a 43-year-old African American man, occurred on the afternoon of September 20, 2016, in Charlotte, North Carolina. Plain-clothes police officers arrived at an apartment complex about a mile from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte to search for another man for whom they had outstanding warrants. Once there, they saw Scott in his SUV allegedly smoking cannabis and handling a handgun. They left and called for backup, as they were not marked as police officers at the time. Once other officers arrived, they approached Scott's vehicle with weapons drawn and ordered him to drop his gun and exit the vehicle. Scott did not initially respond. The original unmarked officers, now wearing CMPD plate carriers, moved to the rear of Scott's vehicle and broke out a rear window, presumably to pressure Scott out. Scott exited the vehicle, gun in hand, and stood in front of several alert officers. The officers ordered him to drop the gun a total of 17 times, which he allegedly refused to do. Officer Brentley Vinson (a Black African American & two-year veteran of the police force) fatally shot Scott; he has been placed on paid administrative leave.[19]

The shooting sparked riots, which continued on into the morning of the next day and subsequent night.

The shooting occurred in the parking lot of the Village at College Downs apartment complex on Old Concord Road, where CMPD officers were searching for an unrelated suspect with outstanding warrants.[20] Scott, who was parked in the lot, allegedly exited his vehicle armed with a handgun, and then immediately returned to his vehicle.[20] Mistaking Scott for the suspect they were looking for, officers began to approach Scott's vehicle when he again exited the car, still armed. The officers then allegedly gave Scott numerous loud verbal warnings to drop his weapon, which many witnesses at the scene heard.[20] When Scott allegedly refused to comply, Officer Brentley Vinson fatally shot Scott, who died at the scene.

Despite neither woman being at the scene, and the sister being asleep, both Scott's sister and daughter claimed that he was in his car reading a book when he was gunned down by the officer, but no book was found there.[21][22] CMPD Chief Kerr Putney told reporters that a handgun was seized at the scene, and a photo of the gun was released by WBTV.[22] Several witnesses at the scene also observed the weapon, and not a book.

Citizens Review BoardEdit

In 2013, press reports indicated that the Citizens Review Board had ruled against citizens complaining of police misconduct in every case brought before the panel in its fourteen-year history.[23]


  1. ^ a b Sullivan, Carl; Baranauckas, Carla (26 June 2020). "Here's how much money goes to police departments in largest cities across the U.S." USA Today. Archived from the original on 14 July 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "CMPD 2020 Integrated Annual Report". CMPD. City of Charlotte. 2021. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
  3. ^ "Our Organization - Home". Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  4. ^ "Our Response Areas". Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  5. ^ a b "2010 Annual Report" (PDF). Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
  6. ^ a b "CMPD: Our Response Areas". CMPD. City of Charlotte. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
  7. ^ a b "Metro Division". Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
  8. ^ Fascinating facts - see image
  9. ^ "CMPD Promotes New Assistant Chiefs". WCCB Charlotte. 14 July 2017. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  10. ^ "Our Organization: Office of the Chief". CMPD. City of Charlotte. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
  11. ^ Charlotte Observer, 8 March 2013
  12. ^ CMPD promotes officers Archived 6 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Providence Division". Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
  14. ^ Introduction of Lieutenant rank Archived 15 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ 2013 City of Charlotte salary database - Police Archived 14 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "CMPD promotes 23 officers," 12 May 2014
  17. ^ Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics, 2000: Data for Individual State and Local Agencies with 100 or More Officers Archived 27 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ "City reaches $2.25 million settlement in Ferrell civil lawsuit". Time Warner Cable News. 14 May 2015.
  19. ^ ""Charlotte protest: One person shot during violence; officer wounded"".
  20. ^ a b c "Gun recovered at fatal Charlotte police shooting was reported stolen, sources say". charlotteobserver. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  21. ^ "Video shows moments before Keith Lamont Scott's shooting".
  22. ^ a b Staff, WBTV Web. "Source: Picture appears to show gun next to Keith Lamont Scott's body". Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  23. ^ "Woman 'felt dismissed' after filing complaint against CMPD", by Fred Clasen-Kelly,, February 26, 2013