Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department

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Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department
Common name Charlotte Police Department
Abbreviation CMPD
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department logo.jpg
Patch of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
Agency overview
Formed 1993
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* City of Charlotte in the state of North Carolina, United States
General nature
Operational structure
Sworn members 1,849 (2014)
Agency executive Rodney Monroe, Chief of police (8 Jun.)
Divisions 13
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is the police department of the City of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, US. With 1,849 officers and 473 civilian staff as of 2014, 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. The CMPD is unique, in that it 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. Though they are by statute "county police" in that they have jurisdiction anywhere in Mecklenburg County, the unique status of the situation made them "metro" police, in that the City of Charlotte has no municipal police department.[1]


The CMPD is organized into the Office of the Chief of Police and five deputy chiefs. Each deputy chief leads a designated group:

  • Field Services-North
  • Field Services-South
  • Investigative Services
  • Support Services
  • Administrative Services

The Field Services-North and Field Services-South Groups are divided into two areas, each led by a major. Each area is divided into three to four divisions, each led by a captain. Each Division is divided into three response areas; until mid-2011, each was commanded by a response area commander. Since then, each response area has been commanded by a lieutenant. A response area comprises two units, each commanded by a sergeant.[2]

Some groups contain bureaus, headed by majors. Each bureau is also organized into divisions, commanded by captains, and units, commanded by sergeants.[3]

As of June 2014, the department consisted of 1 chief of police, 5 deputy chiefs of police, 16 majors, 38 captains, 46 lieutenants, 148 sergeants and roughly 1550 officers.[4]

  • Office of the Chief
    • Chief of Staff
    • Real Time Crime Center
      • TRAP/POST
      • Watch Commanders Division
    • Internal Affairs Bureau
    • Public Affairs Office
    • Police Attorney's Office
    • Human Resources & Fiscal Affairs Bureau
  • Administrative Services Group
    • Training Bureau
      • Training Division
      • Recruiting Division
    • Administrative Services Bureau
      • Communications Division
      • Records Division
    • Crime Analysis Division
    • Planning and Research Division
    • Computer Technology Solutions Division
  • Field Services Group-North
    • Northeast Service Area
    • Northwest Service Area
      • Airport Law Enforcement Division
    • Field Services Support Unit
  • Field Services Group-South
    • Southeast Service Area
    • Southwest Service Area
    • Special Events Bureau
    • Field Services Support Unit
  • Investigative Services Group
    • Special Investigations Bureau
      • Vice, Gang & Firearms Division
      • Intelligence Unit
    • Criminal Investigations Bureau
      • Special Victims Division
      • Violent Crime Division
  • Support Services Group
    • Special Operations Bureau
      • Special Operations Division
    • Lab and Evidence Bureau
      • Property and Evidence Management Division
      • Crime Lab Division
      • Crime Scene Search Unit
    • Community Services Bureau
      • Community Services and Youth Division
      • Animal Care and Control Division
      • Chaplains Unit

Aviation Unit[edit]

Formed in 1971 through a Federal Law Enforcement Assistance Administration grant program. The department purchased a helicopter and initially trained 3 officers, adding 3 more officers within the first three months of operation. The unit was staffed 7 days a week, and covered 20 out of 24 hours a day.

In 1976 a Bell 206B Jet Ranger was purchased to replace the Bell 47 which was no longer being produced and difficult to find parts for. The Aviation Unit, when replaced as the primary unit, had flown more than 13,500 hours. In recent years the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department acquired a new Bell 407 which is now the primary patrol unit. This helicopter has more advanced crime fighting features and capacities.

The unit has operated 25 years accident free. The aviation unit's primary mission can best be described as providing an aerial platform to support the Officers of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.


The department maintains a tactical team for high-risk warrant service, search warrant execution, standoffs, manhunts and critical incidents. The officers are specially-trained and carry tactical gear in their take-home vehicles. They perform other primary duties (patrol, detective, etc.) when not in SWAT call outs or training.

Bike Patrol[edit]

Starting in 1991, CMPD began its Bike Patrol program in the uptown area. Beginning with just two officers, the Bike Patrol has grown to over 200 full-time officers and community coordinators throughout different districts of the city. The success of the CMPD Bike Patrol is due largely to the department's emphasis on community policing and its impact on the community.

When the unit started to grow, officer training became an issue. In 1995 the CMPD chose the Law Enforcement Bicycle Association (L.E.B.A.) as its source for Bike Patrol training. The Law Enforcement Bicycle Association provides the best training in every phase of bike patrol procedures. All instructors are actively involved in bike patrol schools throughout the year, both in-service and regional.

Other special units include school resource officer, traffic accident investigation (which focuses on speed and DWI enforcement) and police dog patrol.

Charlotte Douglas International Airport[edit]

Though CMPD assists and handles incidents as needed at the airport, the airport has its own law enforcement service solely dedicated to the airport. It is city-funded, though the general assembly has made moves to make the airport a state or regional entity. On December 15, 2012 the city merged the airport police and CMPD , thus creating the CMPD Airport Division. All Airport Law Enforcement officers are now CMPD officers.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Security[edit]

The school district maintains school patrols that have officers who are deputized as special sheriff's deputies by the Mecklenburg County Sheriff. They are employees of the school district and are not the school resource officers assigned to schools.

Bomb squad[edit]

CMPD's Bomb Squad was established in 1971 and consisted of only two officers. The first major piece of equipment was an open-vent containment vessel that was purchased with federal funds. The bomb squad still has and uses that same containment vessel.

The unit has grown in size and sophistication to meet and exceed the growing threats from domestic and international terrorists, and the threatened use of weapons of mass destruction.

When the unit first formed, the equipment available to bomb technicians consisted of a briefcase full of hand tools, some rope and a homemade "water-cannon" made from galvanized pipe and wood.

Today, the Bomb Squad has two fully equipped response vehicles and the most sophisticated bomb detection, disruption and protective equipment available. A remote-controlled robot, remote controlled X-ray machines, various bomb suits and chemical/biological suits, and a myriad of various other tools and equipment are in the bomb squad's arsenal of tools. The bomb squad regularly trains and is able to operate in almost any environment.

All of the department's hazardous devices technicians are certified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Hazardous Devices School. The CMPD also has two explosive detection dogs. The bomb squad has the ability to call on an additional hazardous devices technician and two explosive detection dogs that work for the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Department.[5]

Citizens On Patrol[edit]

The CMPD has an unpaid volunteer police program known as the Citizens on Patrol. CMPD citizen officers assist the department with uniformed patrols and provide crowd and vehicular control at special events, riots,accidents and fire scenes, checking for abandoned vehicles and graffiti as well as visiting businesses and residential locations to enforce handicapped and fire lane parking violations. Volunteers also patrol parks, schools, businesses, hotels, and residential neighborhoods. Patrol duties include observing and reporting any unusual or suspicious activities to CMPD officers. While on patrol, volunteers can pick up found property, direct traffic at vehicle collisions, and assist disabled motorists.

Citizens on Patrol volunteers educate the public on the need for reserving parking spaces for individuals with disabilities as well as ensure fire lanes remain available for emergency vehicles. Citizen officers are empowered to issue citations when vehicles parked in handicapped spaces do not properly display a handicapped parking permit or when vehicles are illegally parked in a designated fire lane

Each Citizens on Patrol volunteer must attend the CMPD's Citizens Academy in addition to approximately 50 hours of Citizens on Patrol training, which includes:

  • Familiarization with CMPD procedures and equipment.
  • Traffic direction and driver training.
  • Participation in ride-alongs with current Citizens on Patrol to observe duty performance.
  • CPR, conflict resolution, and crowd control.

Citizens Review Board[edit]

In 2013, press reports indicated that the Citizens Review Board had ruled against citizen complaints of police misconduct in every case brought before the panel in its fourteen-year history.[6]

Rank structure[edit]

Title Insignia Insignia (dress uniform cuff) Positions
Chief of Police
4 Gold Stars.svg
5 gold stripes Department Head
Deputy Chief
Colonel Gold.png
4 gold stripes Group CO
US-O4 insignia.svg
3 gold stripes Bureau or Service Area
Captain insignia gold.svg
2 gold stripes Division[7]
US-O1 insignia.svg
Gold stripe Response Area[8]
MPDC Sergeant Stripes.png
Police Officer

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)[9] served as a stop-gap rank before the rank of lieutenant was officially approved as a replacement.[10] 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,[11] and by 2013 all response area commanders had been regraded as lieutenants.[12][13] However, the rank of staff sergeant was retained through 2014, when the remaining holders of the rank were promoted to lieutenant.[14][15]

The insignia of the Chief of Police was two gold stars until 2014, when Chief Rodney D. Monroe upgraded it to four stars.[16]

Awards and Decorations[edit]


  • Medal of Valor - Presented to employees who have shown gallantry and bravery by preserving life or property while risking death or serious injury.
  • Medal of Merit - Presented to employees who have demonstrated extraordinary actions in response to an emergency or routine event.
  • Life Saving Award - Recognizes employees for saving a human life.
  • Silver Cross - Awarded to employees seriously injured by assault or other overt acts in the performance of their duties
  • Departmental Awards
    • Outstanding Employee of the Year
    • Patrol Training Officer of the Year'
    • Sworn Employee of the Year
    • Non-Sworn Employee of the Year
  • Chief's Award for Excellence in Policing - Recognizes exceptional problem-solving initiatives that have successfully addressed serious community concerns.
  • Chief's Unit Citation - Awarded to a departmental unit whose performance is indicative of a high degree of initiative, determination, diligence and cooperative effort in the fulfillment of a difficult mission, operation, task or project.
Salary varies


  • Meritorious Award - Presented to citizens who distinguish themselves by meritorious service and extraordinary actions during which the citizen is at risk for serious injury or death.
  • Citizen Service Award - Presented to citizens who have worked with the police and exhibited considerable initiative and resolve.[17]


Breakdown of the makeup of the rank and file of Charlote-Mecklenburg Police Department:[18]

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