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CMPD Chief Monroe Addresses Degree Controversy

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe says he's deciding how to put an end to the controversy surrounding his degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. He says he's considering going back to school or returning the degree he received while serving as Richmond's Police Chief. Monroe and City Manager Curt Walton called a press conference yesterday saying they want to bring closure to the questions surrounding the degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. Walton spoke first re-affirming that Monroe is the right person to head Charlotte-Mecklenburg's police department. The room was packed with police officers, neighborhood leaders and a handful of city council members. Many of them applauded as an emotional Monroe stood to speak. "I'm not here to debate what I should've known or when I should've known it. Or am I going to continue to try to justify anyone's role in this matter including my own. I am here today because of the unfortunate nature that this issue has begun to take on," said Monroe. Questions about the degree Monroe received began this spring. The main concern was how the police chief, as a transfer student, completed only two classes at VCU and still got a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the university. Since then, investigations conducted by VCU and Virginia state officials found that Monroe did not seek special treatment, but was the beneficiary of others who broke many rules for him. Last week several Virginia lawmakers called on VCU to revoke Monroe's degree. And the local lodge of the North Carolina Fraternal Order of Police asked the City of Charlotte and the Police Chief to address the matter so officers could move on. Monroe said he chose to speak at this point because the department and the community have to get beyond the controversy. "Therefore I will accept responsibility for moving us forward by exploring various options for removing elements of this back-and-forth debate. What those options are I will continue to discuss with Curt Walton and my family on what is in everybody's best interest," said Monroe. Monroe said going back to school and returning his degree are two of the options he's considering, but he wouldn't elaborate. He also would not give an idea of when he'll make the decision. VCU officials have said Monroe can keep his degree since the university's policy states that a degree can only be revoked because of a student's academic misconduct. City Manager Curt Walton says it's unlikely Monroe's degree will be revoked. But if it is, he says the City will give Monroe time to pursue a degree at another school so that he meets the position's requirements.