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The Voice of the Black Community

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CMPD Chief Kerr Putney retires to life of consulting and advocacy
Outgoing top cop stakes out next chapter
 
Published Tuesday, June 30, 2020 8:05 pm
by Herbert L. White | The Charlotte Post

PHOTO | DAVID FLOWER
Retired Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney plans to start a consulting career and advocate for education and job opportunities for teens and young adults.

Kerr Putney is excited about civilian life.


The retired Charlotte-Mecklenburg police chief is embarking on a new chapter as he transitions to becoming an ordinary citizen with professional and advocacy roles lined up. Putney said he’ll consult law enforcement agencies as well as push for greater community involvement, especially with young people.

“This is all in this phase, without a doubt,” he said Monday at his final round of interviews with local media. “There’s always another phase coming, either going in or coming out or things going into and I’m proud to be making this transition. I’m excited about it.”

As CMPD makes a transition to new leadership with Johnny Jennings as chief, Putney said Charlotte needs to invest more in community, especially young people. Education and job preparation for teens and young adults, he contends, can improve economic mobility, especially in at-risk communities.

“Charlotte is still missing out,” Putney said. “We can do it on a larger scale, and for instance what we’re doing with young people through the summer. Getting them employed for the summer, we’re pretty decent as a city to do that but then what happens the other nine months of the year? We’ve got to connect with people throughout, especially those youths who are Black and Latino who are most at risk.

“Black students deserve the opportunity to every other student in [Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools] gets. And to do that, we have to get more engaged.”

Putney said he’ll be vocal in pushing for more engagement when it comes to law enforcement and community involvement.


“I will not hesitate to use my mouth to articulate my perspective and what I'd like to see,” he said. “Is there a targeted audience? Not necessarily. It’s just people who are committed to helping the city, I want to see them do so. Any and all light pink or blue network I want to celebrate that visibly and those who aren’t needs to be held to account. Everybody holds us accountable. I think it goes both ways and as a civilian a citizen in this country, in the city, I get an opportunity to do that as well.”


Putney said the way CMPD engages with citizens has been the most obvious change since he joined the agency.

Its 1,700 officers and leaders are more taking on greater roles in the community, even in the midst of civil unrest and demands for greater accountability in use of force against unarmed Black civilians.


“I think mainly we've become a lot more human,” he said. “I think we're willing to expose ourselves personally. Even during the midst of protests our people are taking it to heart, the messages that they're giving understanding and also feeling just as frustrated payment about the progress we're trying to make in this profession, and also struggling when we’re totally misunderstood. I think that's what the protesters and our cops have in common – just struggling to be better understood and make those communication connections that I think are more about one human to another than our profession against the people.”

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