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As Others Recruit Here, CMPD Steps Up Its Own Marketing

In a new social media campaign, CMPD is recruiting officers from other departments.
In a new social media campaign, CMPD is recruiting officers from other departments.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Police have started a new campaign to recruit officers, just as existing officers call for higher pay and other big city departments try to lure them away.

CMPD's slogan for the social media campaign is #BeTheDifference, heard in a video posted on Twitter:

"The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department is actively recruiting qualified and experienced officers. If you're looking to be the difference in one of the fastest growing cities in the United States, visit CMPD.org/apply to learn more. Join today, be the difference for tomorrow."

The campaign comes amid recent reports that Raleigh Police Department is stepping up recruiting here, including an all-day information session planned Friday at the Westin Hotel.  

The campaign also comes a week after a Charlotte City Council meeting was packed by officers with the local Fraternal Order of Police. They're demanding an across-the-board 15 percent pay raise, as well as improvements in health insurance and other benefits.

On Wednesday, CMPD spokesperson Rob Tufano said he's heard of at least one officer moving to Raleigh recently. He said he's not surprised other departments are trying to recruit CMPD officers. CMPD is doing the same.

"We've launched a campaign this week especially on social media, a somewhat aggressive campaign, trying to attract the best and brightest from around the country," Tufano said.

Since 2017, CMPD has been at more than 100 recruiting events around the country, Tufano said. 

Raleigh would be a sideways move for most CMPD officers. Starting salaries there range from $42,300 a year for police academy graduates to $54,000 for an officer with 10 to 12 years experience.    CMPD said it pays about $43,000 for new officers. Experienced officers can eventually make up to $66,000, but exact pay would depend on experience.

Mayor Vi Lyles said this week the city is studying police pay elsewhere before it makes any decisions on increases here.

"I think that we're going to see what the market-rate studies show and we're going to see what recommendations we have," she said. 

Tufano said Chief Kerr Putney has been having "some really good dialogue" about police pay with City Council members.

“Knowing what I know about them and that body, it's not lip service." Tufano said. "I really believe that there is an appetite for making this right and trying to do whatever it is that they can to bring wages up."

David Boraks is a veteran journalist who covers climate change for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.