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Sunday, October 30, 2011

More Spending in Question..

Police Dashboard Computer Systems Not Performing?
Here’s another couple million tax dollars someone should re-evaluate:  Software that is supposed to work really great to integrate all of the data systems for police work and help patrol officers to literally predict the future of crime to prevent it. 
At the least, there’s a fabulous-looking set of screens that officers should be able to access everything from maps showing calls for service, ankle monitors, APB’s, latest communications from anyone at CMPD, warrants, and more, all at a touch.  The presentations of how it will work look great.  In practice, however, most patrol officers say the whole thing is not designed for a mobile environment, takes 20-30 minutes to load up, and so is useless. 
Since the whole new dashboard system is completely ineffective, they don’t use it.  Monroe and Medlock have virtually promised a magic crystal ball to the future, but officers say they aren’t able to load the software—so they normally use their lap tops for checking e-mails, filing reports, checking warrants, etc…
This is the agenda for the approval of money for Predictive Analytics Software by City Council:
City Council Agenda
November 23, 2009 41

38. Police Predictive Analytic Software and Services
Staff Resource: Harold Medlock, Police
Police has 13 different crime data sources that provide information on arrests, incidents, calls for service and other relevant police data.
To gather information for analysis, Police currently goes through a labor intensive and time consuming manual process to compile statistics and reports from each of the 13 data sources.
The reporting and statistical information is not available to police officers on a timely basis that allows them to respond as proactively as needed to trends in their assigned areas.
The new software will automate the analytical process by gathering the information from each data source and providing updated real time crime information to police officers through the laptop computers in their patrol vehicles. The officers can then analyze the trends and patterns of a particular crime occurring in a certain geographical area or a certain time of day using interactive information tools that provide graphical views of the data.
The software will allow police officers to predict future crime patterns based on prior history and other relevant data for a specific area.
The enhanced data will enable Police Response Area Commanders and Command Staff will be able to assign and adjust resources more proactively and efficiently, evaluate the achievement of crime reduction goals and target specific areas for improvement.
Police, in collaboration with Procurement Services, issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) on June 5, 2009 for Predictive Analytic Software, Dashboards, and Services.
Six proposals were received in response to the RFP and were reviewed by an evaluation team on criteria including background and experience, proposed solution, exceptions to contract language, and pricing.
Two of the proposals received additional evaluation and the vendors conducted on-site demos.
The Evaluation Team unanimously considered Information Builders, Inc. to be the service provider best meeting the established requirements. Small Business Opportunity No SBO goal was set for this contract because subcontracting opportunities are not anticipated (Part C; Section 2.4 of the SBO Policy) 
A. Approve a contract with Information Builders, Inc. for the purchase of Predictive Analytic Software and Services for an initial term of one-year, in an amount not to exceed $1,231,500,
B. Authorize the City Manager to approve up to five, one year renewal options for extended software maintenance and support with an estimated annual expenditure of $88,000, and
C. Authorize the City Manager to approve additional license purchases as required by Police as authorized by the contract and in accordance with its price structure.

You can page through this presentation and see that Monroe used the same company in Richmond before they were chosen as the company to spend an amount either approaching or exceeding $2 Million here in Charlotte (since the licensing fee is not stated).  It’s hard to say what kind of rigorous RFP (Request For Proposal), proposal review and evaluation, then development of final revisions, and choice between last two companies on a complicated software system set to tie together 13 disparate systems could have occurred in four months. 
Here’s a glossy full-page ad in “Police Chief Magazine” October, 2010 for the same “predictive analytics” company starring three police chiefs, including our own Chief Rodney Monroe.  Wonder if Information Builders had any agreement regarding promotional materials?
Is it possible there was not enough of a hard look at vendors, and that’s why officers report that it doesn’t work properly in their patrol car laptops? 
For all the effort Medlock and Monroe have put into the roadshow for Information Builders about how great it would be to have the information at their fingertips, it doesn’t seem to be true. 
The slide presentations of how the system should work for officers look great.  In practice, however, it seems those reports are mostly available to command staff at their desks, and used mostly to track “results” from mid-level staff and below.  They can prepare for their weekly meetings, and word is some of them get pretty rough. 
See in this presentation by Deputy Chief Harold Medlock what looks like a great, integrated system that would be helpful.  DC Medlock (in charge during this past Memorial Day weekend, and now promoted to be in charge of DNC 2012 Security) and Monroe literally promise the moon--phases of the moon--and access to all the current crime data an officer could want.  The system also promises to have all historical data—which makes it all the more curious why CMPD continues to refuse release of accurate crime statistics when we have paid a couple of million dollars on top of all other monies spent for this system.

Among the stated “Project Goals” are to:
“Provide customized role-based delivery of crime data and predictive analytics to Officers and Command Staff”
So it seems from taking in this whole report in that every piece of data citynewswatch, numerous citizens, neighborhood watch groups,,, and probably more have been calling for, are all readily available and easy to access.  They are just refusing to show it. 
They have all the data, and we want the data.  Why isn’t a simple link created to the public web site? They have virtually promised a magic crystal ball to the future, but officers say they aren’t able to load the software—that it doesn’t load in a mobile application for 20 or 30 minutes, so they normally use their lap tops for checking e-mails, filing reports, checking warrants, etc...  After you look at the other pages, skip to page 22 and see the funny part: It says they will have
·       Increased accountability across the board
·       Liberates analysts to drive down crime

·       Single version of the TRUTH… Everyone is on the same page ...

·       And p. 24, explore citizen-facing applications for better transparency

Well, we paid for this technology, and CMPD is using it to keep the data from us because it will show the truth of what the police department is doing.  Release the data.  Obviously, it is all available and completely accessible—just not to citizens who foot the bill and are victims of crime.

p. 5:  Command Level Reports – Fourteen report packages automated and electronically distributed to Captains & Commanders to support Monday morning briefings and weekly CompStat sessions

     “CALLS FOR SERVICE” data is certainly available:  shown on page 14

It’s unclear in this announcement with dateline of Brussel, January 27, 2010, and quotes from Chief Rodney Monroe and Harold Medlock whether those quotes were taken on a trip there, or simply sent in.  Travel records will have to be checked.  But this press release is certainly an advertisement for the company.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department on the Case with Information Builders’ Law Enforcement Analytics
North Carolina’s Largest City Embraces Predictive Policing Model to Reduce Crime and Improve Public Safety
Brussel, January 27, 2010

"Information Builders' dashboard and predictive analytics software will allow staff at every level of the police department to deal with facts in real time. We'll be better equipped to optimally assign officers to response areas with the highest likelihood of criminal activity, resulting in reduced crime and lower operating costs," said Chief Rodney Monroe of CMPD.
City of Charlotte and CMPD performed an in-depth evaluation of software vendors in the marketplace via a formal procurement process.

"Ultimately, our patrol officers will have targeted information available at their fingertips for every call to service – reducing the element of surprise and making their jobs safer on a daily basis," said Deputy Chief Harold Medlock of CMPD.
As Monroe is quoted in Computer World:

The department has been collecting this information for more than a decade now, but this is the first time that data has been put into context and pushed out to the officers. New analytic dashboards eliminate manual reporting processes and consolidate report packages to make crime analysts more efficient, improving safety in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.
For example, weekly statistics are automatically delivered to division commanders every Monday morning reflecting their area of responsibility.

Being able to identify subjects and catch them faster has helped improve police performance for CMPD.
“Our officers don’t have to sift through piles of data to figure out what to do. The system uses data to target the officers’ activities and provides them with duties they can take action on immediately.” – Chief Rodney Monroe of CMPD

Much of this falls back on the Response Area Commander (RAC) Sergeants, but are they being expected to produce full results with half the equipment?  Do the commanders have the computer systems in place for harsh reviews every week, without benefit or safety of the access to the patrol officers of the system they’re supposed to have? 
Here’s part of what Rodney Monroe had to say on the topic at a February 2009 City Council Meeting, just before Councilman Peacock asked about predictive analytic software (which Monroe had used in Richmond, don’t forget):
I think we can police a lot smarter than going out –you know, we don’t measure by arrests.
I don’t sit back and hold people accountable for going
out there and how many arrests you make. We hold people accountable based on how many crimes you can prevent from happening

being in the right place at the right time. Focusing on the right problems in the right neighborhoods allows us to reduce crime whereby we are not overburdening that criminal justice system with multiple arrests, so there are savings based on preventing particular crime.
Councilmember Peacock said my question is about technology and the increased use of it across the United States, particularly GPS technology. I know that technology the basic logic is that it would reduce human effort and be able to increase the efficiency of officers. Can you comment about where we are as far as looking ahead where technology is going to be able to help equip our officers, and is that cost something we need to seriously consider in your numbers.
Chief Monroe said it is, and we had a meeting today. We are looking into the predictive analytics of policing where we can forecast where crime may occur based on a host of data that we already have collected over a number of years to say that I should be here and here during these specific times would give us the ability to go out and be proactive and prevent crimes from occurring. That is the way of the future. One of the things we are looking to do is to find other funding sources for those technology issues but only technology that allows us to be strategic in how we can prevent crime forcing us into the areas we need to be, forcing us to think about the different crimes we need to be focused on; not technology for the simple sake of having the newest and latest technology, but only that technology that is going to drive us to make us accountable for reducing crime.

It seems strange Monroe didn’t mention his history with a software company, and the fabulous results he says he produced with it, at this point during this council meeting as Council members were asking about Predictive Analysis future—and he simply responded it was the wave of the future.  It was also in his past.
Monroe apparently isn’t satisfied with the setup he put in place, because according to the City of Charlotte, they have made a distinction between job title and actual rank, and are saying the RAC Sergeant positions created, documented, and funded for a couple of years now won’t be valid soon, and never really were.  Despite receiving praise from City Council for the new “super sergeants” he created back when Monroe would show up to speak publicly at City Council meetings, all that has changed now.
 The RAC’s recently took written tests to become Lieutenants.  They’ve been told this is a new position, with many fewer slots, and no written CMPD Directives yet for LT, either.  More difficult to believe is the grossly unbalanced move to have 80% of the promotion decisions based on “oral” evaluations, and only 20% based on the written exams, which a not-so-subtle way of saying Monroe and his already-chosen-ones will be picking the ones they want to advance, without any necessary basis in performance, seniority, qualifications, education, or anything else relevant to doing a good job.  With the controversial “Rule of Five” has only been employed on recent promotions, to anyone’s memory, it has been announced that it will be used on Lieutenant promotions. Maybe they should skip any other process announcements and just pin up a list of who Rodney wants to put in a brand new take-home Charger.  That should end it. 
City Manager Curt Walton has stated before that he will not review any personnel concerns. Cheryl Brown in Human Resources stands by the same position, unless something has changed in the last couple of months. 
Why spend $1,231,500, plus $88,000 annual maintenance, plus another unstated annual licensing amount on a system to demand results and “hold people accountable” for preventing crime, when there is no accountability for the Man in Charge or anyone who is supposed to be in position of oversight?   How long will they continue to allow all of these personnel and financial issues to go unchecked?

Saturday, October 29, 2011



After many requests to figure out what the heck is going with CMPD, the City of Charlotte, Taser, Inc., and PERF (Police Executive Research Forum), along with some seemingly outrageous approvals by City Council for Police spending, an alert reader has sent information to citynewswatch received directly from the City. 
Yesterday, CMPD Attorney Judy Emken promised to send the PERF contract requested concerning the evaluation of tasers performed before the decision to purchase more tasers.  Here is the contract that was sent.  The date isn’t filled out, except that it says “___ of September, 2011” with an evaluation to be completed within 50 days.  This contract was not signed by City of Charlotte Assistant Manager Eric Campbell until October 20th, 2011.  Nothing about this makes sense when you consider the City Council approved spending of almost $2 Million to purchase a new style of taser on September 26th.  And is this the best accounting practice?
PERF is contracted at a rate of $69,000 to do something at some time regarding tasers we have already purchased, though that contract and purchase are also murky—and the CMPD Attorney has said the public is not entitled to the information requested, though you are invited to call and chat about it.

The “effective date” on the executed Taser, Inc. contract newly provided is listed as September 26th, 2011, but the signature accepting the contract by Charlotte Assistant City Manager Eric Campbell is October 20th, 2011. 
CMPD Attorney Judy Emken had stated yesterday (Oct. 27) that there was no signed contract yet.  Was this a mistake or was the document back-signed and -dated? 
The PERF contract—which was supposed to be consultants’ review of the entire taser process, according to Rodney Monroe, and the Taser, Inc. Contract have exactly the same signature and date by Eric Campbell.  They certainly didn’t complete a review before purchase, did they?
Today, the same CMPD Attorney Emken sent this executed copy signed on October 20th to purchase TASERS the public and police officers were told would be here very soon many weeks ago.

She also refused to answer these questions with the claim they are not public record, but that one could call her or the Public Affairs Captain to talk about if they want to.  This attorney states directly that information requested is not public information.  See the emails that were sent an know that it took five emails beginning Oct. 10th to the people who should have provided the information, then one to the entire distribution noted, including citynewswatch, the City Manager, the Mayor, all Council members, the Police Chief, City spokesperson, and more before receiving a friendly invitation to chat with Captain Cunningham.  Now there is an absurd set of responses and documents that make no sense. 
The following was sent 10/28 to Ms. Emken, Mr. Shah-Khan, and the full distribution list of mentioned above:
Ms. Emken and Mr. Shah-Khan,
Ms. Emken's email yesterday (10/27) indicated that she had included a signed copy of the Taser, Inc. contract. Then she indicated that the City Manager had not yet signed the contract. Ms. Emken has now sent today (10/28) a copy of a contract signed by the City Manager's office (Assistant Manager Eric Campbell) on 10/20. This is all contradictory information, and contradicts the publicized accounts of tasers on the way to police.
Her assertions that the answers to my questions are not public record are false as well. This is public information, part of the definition of public records in the public records law, and must be provided. I would also recommend clarifying the first part about when a contract was in place and when tasers were ordered. Also please explain why there is no Purchase Order.
Is this PERF agreement enclosed, which is signed and approved on October 20th by Mr. Campbell as well, for the review which I asked for--the one that was to have taken place immediately after the CMPD internal review, and prior to the (September) 26th vote to purchase tasers?
Why is there no beginning date of service on this contract?
Has it been removed, or did no one bother to include it before Mr. Campbell signed it a few days ago, according to you?
All of this paperwork is extremely suspect.
Have I been given the incorrect paperwork?
Is this a contract for separate, additional work?
Please explain to Ms. Emken that public information is part of the definition of public records.
Please send all information and papers requested now. Thank you for cooperating at this time.

-----Original Message-----
From: Emken, Judy <>
To: (name withheld)
Cc: Cunningham, Brian <>
Sent: Oct 28, 2011
(name withheld),
Please find attached the fully executed contracts as per your public records request. As to your various questions and requests for explanations, these are not requests for public records and therefore, there is nothing to provide you.
With regard to your latest request as of October 27, 2011, for the results of the PERF study, we will put that newest request in queue.
You are welcome to call either myself or Captain Cunningham if you would like to discuss the various questions you pose.

Judith Emken
Senior Assistant City Attorney
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Dept.
601 East Trade Street
Charlotte, NC 28202

From: (name withheld)
October 27
To: Emken, Judy
Cc: Cunningham, Brian
Subject: Re: PUBLIC INFORMATION REQUEST for contracts

Dear Ms. Emken,
I received the .PDF document you sent containing the unsigned contract, opening letter from Taser, Inc., and your email. Thank you for sending those. I have these comments/questions:
1.    The opening letter is dated October 3, indicating you have withheld this information a minimum of 24 days without cause. What is your reason for doing so? Why wasn’t this contract “in house” to begin with, eliminating a need to get City of Charlotte Contract information from another company?
2.    The letter indicates it contains a SIGNED copy of the contract, however you did not provide a signed copy, other than by the other company. Your email states the City Manager has not yet signed the contract, but public statements have been made that the Taser order has been placed. What is the true status of the order? What is/are the reason(s) the City Manager hasn’t signed the contract? Is he preparing to sign the contract? When are any decisions regarding the answers to my questions expected?
3.    The information provided indicates that someone signed a contract with Taser International on September 26th, apparently during business hours: though you may clarify that. There was not a vote to approve the spending of any money for this purpose until the evening of September 26th at the City Council Meeting. Please explain if this is legal or not. Please explain in terms regarding Asset Forfeiture money and separately the other funds used. Is that one of the reasons for the hold up on the Manager’s signature?

4.    Sec. 23.8 says that No Publicity may be made regarding this agreement without prior written agreement of the City, etc… Such publicity has occurred. Therefore, please provide a copy of that agreement. 
5.    Has the PERF study been completed? If so, please send the study results as well as the contract.

6.    If there was a written report from the CMPD study, please send that as well.

Thank you very much for attending to this public records request.

-----Original Message-----
From: Emken, Judy <>
To: (name withheld)
Cc: Cunningham, Brian <>
Sent: Thu,
Oct 27, 2011 10:37 am
Please find the Taser contract and the Request for Council action item which was approved by council on Sept. 26, 2011, but the City Manager has not yet signed it.
The PERF agreement is still being reviewed at this time.

Judith Emken
Senior Assistant City Attorney
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Dept.
601 East Trade Street
Charlotte, NC 28202

From: Cunningham, Brian
Sent: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 3:25 PM
To: (name withheld)

Your request is being reviewed at this time, please feel free to call me at 704-336-4098. Thanks Brian

The suggestions Emken makes, and those from Captain Brian Cunningham, Public Affairs Officer in the Office of the Chief to give him a call and discuss it, are not valid or necessary.  An attorney ought to know that written documents trump hearsay at any time, and requiring a conversation with someone in order to give public information is not part of the law anyway.  Considering how screwed up these documents are…
From reviewing multiple emails from different sources, either Captain Cunningham is a very lonely man with an incessant need to chat with everyone, or there is a concerted effort on the part of the Office of the Chief to avoid putting any answers in writing.  Since there is an equal claim that Captain Cunningham is so bogged down with public records requests that you should expect a very long wait for any information, we should hope he’s not just bored and chatty. 

What is the truth?  What are the excuses about?  What are the reasons behind trying to avoid giving the information about what the Police Department is really doing?
It shouldn’t take weeks, months to get the answers to a couple of direct questions, or the return of a report that should be on hand already.  Any request should be answered.  Maybe Captain Cunningham should get off the phone and coordinate some emails.

Is this connected to the pay and charges for Ms. Emken against Asset and Forfeiture funds?  Others have written to say their public records requests have been delayed or denied in relation to this TASER topic and in relation to the Asset and Forfeiture money specifically. (Remember $400,000 of A&F money was approved in the evening, after the effective business day of the contract of September 26th, though the contract inexplicably wasn’t signed until after numerous requests for it were made:  signed on October 20).  
Asset Forfeiture money, those funds acquired through seizure due to illegal activities, is intended to be used for extremely specific, pre-approved law enforcement activities.  It is absolutely forbidden to be used in other ways.  One way it’s not allowed to be used, according to other law enforcement agencies and federal agencies, is for regularly budgeted items.  That would include attorneys’ salaries—except only those hours that have to do specifically with disposition of the Asset & Forfeiture items.

According to records, in FY 2011 alone about $120,000 were charged against the A&F budget for Ms. Emken.  Unless more than 100% of her time is spent on A & F, pre-approved, then these do not seem to be permissible charges.  Maybe it could be explained better.
Other charges that the CMPD has refused to explain for months are the hundreds of thousands of dollars listed on the Asset & Forfeiture funds as “Project Pool” of Chief Monroe, with no further explanation.  Repeated requests for explanation of those projects have been rejected, with no legal reason for the rejection.  Public Records Law requires a legal reason for refusing the request.  It leads to thoughts of this money being used as a slush fund of unexplained money, which would certainly violate the tight Federal restrictions on use.

Charges for other items that should be regular budget items are included in Asset & Forfeiture spending in the last few years as well, but CMPD refuses to explain.  The Mayor and City Council have been informed that Chief Monroe and City Manager Walton will not give public information on this and other topics, as have City Attorneys, yet they will not take any action.

The Chief and his Staff, all the officers involved, and all the rest mentioned here, still won’t release the financial information about the CMPD Blue Hornets Baseball Team and the difference between what the tax records say, what their web site says, and what travel records say concerning the “charitable” foundation set up in the name of an officer.  Those officers came back now from trips to NY and PA, so they probably have time to talk about who their sponsors are and all the money sources and expenditures.  As it is, they won’t even say who is on the Board of Directors.

As mentioned in the earlier post, there is over $62,000 charged to “TEAM CHARLOTTE” during FY2011.   Is that for the CMPD Blue Hornets?   Chief Monroe won’t answer.  On 6/30/11, there was a $5,000 charge against Asset & Forfeiture money for “monogramming.”  Was that for the baseball team?  Whatever it was for, we can be reasonably certain it was not for a verifiable law enforcement need that was approved in advance by City Council, as Federal Law requires for those monies.  If it was, maybe Captain Cunningham can use some of his free time to send a quick e-mail to explain what it was about.   Maybe he could do the same concerning a few thousand dollars charged in his name at a guitar store earlier this year, too, to the same funds.

Is there a conflict when an attorney involved in Asset and Forfeiture funds is also refusing public records requests regarding those same funds?

Is there a conflict when the Attorneys for the City of Charlotte are repeatedly delaying or refusing Public Records requests concerning matters in which they may represent the City/City Employees in litigation on subjects contained in the information requested?  Should there be a time limit or clearer standards set here to compel City of Charlotte employees to follow the law at all times, beyond having to hire a private attorney and file a lawsuit?  The current laws should be sufficient.  It seems they may not be compelling enough.

What is the correct thing to do when the people that hold the information that belongs to the public hold it, control it, as if it is their private commodity to be bargained for?  Should it be held as only accessible to those who have the money and time to persist in hiring a private attorney to sue their own government and government officials to get information belonging to the people?

The Department of Justice should review their interests in the Asset and Forfeiture funds and in other areas.

It’s a shame the Mayor and City Council refuse to do it.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

More Taser Truth, Still No Transparency

More truth comes out about the Taser, Inc. purchase made on September 26th, 2011, when City Council voted that evening to spend $1.83 million dollars of our money to purchase a new model of X2 Taser, after the X26’s had been removed from every officer on the street a month earlier. 
A thorough internal review by CMPD officers was said to find only a couple of minor issues with a couple of units.  However, The Chief decided his officers’ intensive review was not sufficient and spent more money with PERF, an outside consulting company, to perform another audit.  Perform, but not complete. 
Before the audit was complete, Taser came to town, with a big luncheon spread and a contract for purchase of all new X2’s, barely announced the Friday prior to a vote for approval on Monday, September 26th.  This is the same day the contract was signed by at least the company, and presented as an order in place with Tasers on the way.  It is a violation of Federal Law to spend Asset & Forfeiture money without prior written approval from City Council.  Asset & Forfeiture is generally money seized from illegal activities.  It seems like an area that should be explored and explained, since $400,000 of the money is said to come from Asset & Forfeiture funds.  Really, the whole thing should be explained when someone from the City signs a contract with no public input, before the completion of a consulting study we are paying for, and before City Council even asks a question, much less has a vote.
Despite Andy Dulin’s recent statements about the $5 Million to buy new cars for the Police Department, and how Council wants to give CMPD everything they want, it’s past time to review the financial practices.  Dulin’s comment seems to be true, but the items coming before council and the ones that aren’t coming up for vote need more scrutiny.
Here’s one web site ad for exactly the same “negotiated, discounted price” on our contract for the identical product:  Southern Police Equipment
Taser X2

SKU: 22002
Manufacturer: Taser Less Lethal

Our Price:

Top of

* Color
* indicates a required field.
Available to Law Enforcement onlyBottom of Form

This is just one site, one distributor.  Call any distributor of Taser products in America and see that they are offering the same “discounted price” Monroe and Council claimed was negotiated as the great deal we couldn’t pass up to get the so-called new and improved, ‘safer’ models.  This price applies if you turn in one or fifty or 2000 units, functioning or not.  This fact was confirmed with numerous distributors.   More than one distributor said “There is NO negotiating with Taser, Inc.  With that company, you get their price.”
Put those facts together with the focus on legal and press issues when Taser, Inc. treated command staff to lunch during their all-day meeting on September 26th, and you can understand that Taser’s motivations for offering the “discount” of exactly the same amount to any individual or multiple purchase of the X2 for trading in the X26 are likely tied to the enormous dollar amounts in product liability lawsuits tied to the X26 tasers, including a $10 million judgment awarded due to a 37-second-long shock given to an unarmed teenager in Charlotte.   An attorney would have to explain exactly the impact to the City and any officers involved of this paragraph included (click to enlarge) :

It seems likely Taser, Inc. wants to be sure they are able to say the company took steps, thus shifting liability, or at least organizing some sort of defense for the next trial.  One can hope there are sincere motivations and actual safety improvements, both for the officers and anyone who may be on the receiving end, no matter the circumstances.  There should have been testing, approvals, and officer involvement before this was done. 
It’s hard to say if the products are actually safer for anyone.  CMPD’s officers’ report was not released.  To anyone’s knowledge, there has been no “test run” of the new products by CMPD officers or anyone known to the department.  The purchase was made before the PERF consultant study was complete, and it’s unknown whether that study is complete, what the results were, or if they studied the new X2.
Was this the way to decide to spend about $2 Million dollars? 
There's a discount indicated, but a discount from what numbers, exactly?  And what was possibly done or given in exchange when you start looking around the Internet and see the number of times Charlotte's CMPD is used to promoted and advertise Taser, Inc?  Is that related to any prior lawsuit settlement?  Is this whole deal related to that previous settlement?  Here’s what we’re obligated to purchase, according to the contract (click on image to enlarge) :

Of course, the contract also clearly states that (click on image to enlarge):

So, does that mean that the City gave express written permission for Monroe to give a quote for the press release for Taser, Inc. found here ?
Press Release Source: TASER International On Tuesday October 4, 2011, 7:30 am EDT
SCOTTSDALE, AZ--(Marketwire -10/04/11)- TASER International, Inc. (NASDAQ: TASR - News), a global provider of safety technologies that protect life, prevent conflict, and resolve disputes, today announced the first major city to purchase and upgrade to the new TASER® X2™ electronic control devices (ECDs) for all patrol officers. TASER
The City of Charlotte City Council unanimously approved the largest order for X2s to date, including 1,600 of the new TASER X2 ECDs equipped with the new Auto Shut-Down Performance Power Magazine (APPM), extended warranties, 7,400 TASER® cartridges and related accessories.
X2s, 2,180 TASER cartridges and various related accessories. Further information is not being released at this time.
These orders shipped in the third quarter of 2011.
"At the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, we have a deep commitment to enhancing the safety of our community and our employees," said Chief Rodney Monroe.
In addition to upgrading to the TASER X2, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has also engaged the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) to perform a review of the department's policies, procedures and training on ECDs.
To learn more about the X2:
According to the alert reader who forwarded the information, an Attorney for the City says the City Manager has not signed the contract yet.  What?           
Legally, what are they doing?  Has this been approved or not?  Are there tasers on the way or not?  Were the others already removed and shipped away?  Is the deal off?  Was a legal problem discovered which negated the deal?  How much longer will Police Chief Rodney Monroe and City Manager Curt Walton continue with this type of backward, covert financial dealing before the City Council and Mayor Foxx step up and participate in some real investigation and oversight?
Again, we deserve the full and open answers until this makes sense.  People's lives are on the line.