At a press conference Friday, Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney shared 2018 crime statistics which were mostly positive.
Chief Putney reported that overall crime is down 2 percent, 143 pounds of drugs were recovered and 17,000 arrests were made last year.
Putney pointed out the department received 134 complaints, 82 percent of those complaints were internal.
"Out of 134, 110 were officers holding themselves accountable saying ‘I saw you do something wrong and you’re a cop too and I tell somebody to take care of it.’ One hundred ten out of 134, I’m proud of that," Putney said. "Conversely we had 450 compliments, keep them coming."
But there’s room for improvement. Vehicle thefts were up 11 percent. Aggravated assaults increased by 3 percent.
"Even in that challenge I see opportunity," Putney reflected. "Although most of them were young people settling minor disputes with physical violence, they didn’t bring guns to those encounters. So we had a lot less people dying and getting shot this year but we still had an increase in aggravated assault. So there’s still some positive in even the negative there."
The total number of homicides for 2018 was 57, down 35 percent from 2017.
Putney stressed the work CMPD did in 2018 regarding de-escalation. He said CMPD is ready to hire six clinicians to work with officers to proactively assist people prior to a crisis.
Putney added de-escalation relates directly to the conversations the department is having about the debate around use of force. Legally, Putney said, officers can only use force to overcome resistance. “Cooperate. Make us communicate. Allow us to de-escalate,” Putney said. A formula the department wants to carry into 2019.