The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is attempting to combat a staffing shortage by ramping up recruitment efforts, especially for experienced officers outside Charlotte.
While the exact number of vacancies in the department changes by the day, the number tends to hover around 200, or about 9 percent of the department's staff. Over the last year, the number of unfilled positions has been as high as 220, and as low as 150.
In response, CMPD is reaching out to veterans and college students, and it's launching a campaign targeting officers throughout the country and offering them pay incentives to relocate to Charlotte.
At a Wednesday press briefing, Police Chief Kerr Putney didn't give the total number of applications the department has received so far this year, but he did say the number of qualified minority candidates is down.
According to a department spokesperson, CMPD has seen a 60 percent drop in qualified African-American applicants over the last year, and roughly an 11 percent drop in qualified Latino applicants.
Putney implied that the rise of social media and public scrutiny of officer-involved shootings may be to blame.
Meanwhile, CMPD is anticipating a large wave of officer retirements over the next two years, many stemming from a hiring spree 30 years ago.