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Monday, January 2, 2012

CMPD Emails Permanently Deleted from Public Record?

Citynewswatch has uncovered this email originally sent from the computer technical support team to every CMPD employee, then sent by CMPD Captain of Public Affairs for Chief Rodney Monroe, Brian Cunningham to CMPD Attorney Judy Emken.  Given recent events and the ongoing denials of public information from the City about the Police Department, it’s a little difficult to tell if this is a warning on how not to lose information or instructions on how to be sure something gets deleted permanently:

Attached Message
Cunningham, Brian <>
Emken, Judy <>
FW: What happens to emails you delete - and a caution
Fri, 30 Sep 2011 14:55:06 -0400
From: Horton, Ron
Sent: Thursday, June 16, 2011 11:02 AM
To: _CMPD everyone
Cc: Hampton, Denise; Sterrett, Todd
What happens to emails you delete - and a caution

We have received numerous Help Desk tickets concerning items that were deleted by accident and cannot be recovered.   It will help to understand how the City email system now handles Deleted emails, as it is different from how CMPD used to do it - and different from how standard Microsoft installations of Outlook (such as you may have at home) do it.

The MOST IMPORTANT thing to understand is:  

Each time you exit Outlook, your deleted folder is emptied.

If you want to find an item you deleted and you have exited Outlook since you deleted it, then it will NOT be in the deleted folder. The next step is to go to "Tools" then "Recover Deleted Items." If the item was sent or received in the last few days, it may be there. If it is not, you'll have to open a Help Desk ticket and give as many details as possible for us to pass on to the City so they can search for your deleted item in the Vault.

"But don't we have an Enterprise Vault that stores every email ever sent?" you may ask - and we do have such a vault.
But the rules of what gets in there are tricky.  For example, yesterday when I looked in the Vault for a particular deleted email, there were no items in there for April, May, or June.

It's still worth a try - click on the "Search Vaults" or "Archive Explorer" icons in the very top menu bar in Outlook - they are on the right beside the "?" Help icon. If you can't find it there, then submit the Help Desk ticket.

"So how do I avoid completely losing items when I accidentally delete them?" One way to do this is to create a folder that you label "Deleted storage" or something like that and then if you get ready to delete an item you MIGHT want to recover (I know, it's a judgment call) then instead of deleting it, just drag it over to that folder.  Then periodically go into that folder and delete items that are old enough that you feel comfortable you will never need them.

Just remember - consider the Delete key permanent, and handle your email accordingly.

If you have any questions please direct them to me or Cheryl Campbell.

Ron Horton
Computer Technology Solutions
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department
Work 704.336.7252
Cell 704.619.4016

The law regarding record retention is in conflict with this email forwarded to every CMPD employee.  Especially in light of the atrocious behavior in Mayor Foxx’s office with at least four acknowledged written demands for business-class upgrades for his recent trip to China—only uncovered because of media requests for the emails from his assistant, Tracy Montross—policies and ethics need to be reviewed.  It’s a sad statement that ethics need to be reviewed instead of being automatic, but that is the leadership of Charlotte at this time.

There have been calls to review the Foxx/Montross situation to see if a crime was committed, but Curt Walton and Mayor Foxx, who could be implicated if a crime was committed, conveniently had their own attorney declare in short order that no crime was committed.  They then made a quick announcement to that effect on Friday just before the long holiday weekend.  Surely they are hoping that will be the end of it. 

If there is any real concern for ethics on this City Council, Friday’s announcement will not be the end of it.

Andy Dulin called for an investigation and there should be a proper investigation.  Dulin said, "A Quid Pro Quo demand from a public official has got to be illegal," Dulin wrote in the email.  (Quoted from the Charlotte Observer)  "If it is not, it sure should be. For an employee of the city to demand action and in this case money from an individual or agency for services rendered (or yearly budgets altered) is not only a fireable offense but as I said, maybe illegal."   He has said he wants to know: 

·       Who knew about the email?

·       Was there a quid pro quo demand concerning city monies that fund that agency's budget? Is a quid pro quo demand illegal?

·       What is going to be done about it?

Let’s hope they follow through and that the rest of City Council joins them whole-heartedly.  Michael Barnes said "I don't expect staff to be threatening anyone over their budgets."

If this email represents CMPD policy, it should be reviewed and amended immediately  as well.  If it doesn’t, it should be corrected among all employees also.  The CMPD communication above comes across as a tacit notification that employees can now eliminate all traces of any emails they wish they hadn’t sent and sets up a time frame be sure that happens.

This may explain the perpetual delays and denials of public records requests for so many items, but especially for emails.  Is the plan to wait long enough to delete them safely from the system?   Or maybe this is an actual display of concern about unintentional deletion, so…

Whatever the intention here, Public Records law section § 132‑6.1.a states that:  Electronic data‑processing records:

“After June 30, 1996, no public agency shall purchase, lease, create, or otherwise acquire any electronic data‑processing system for the storage, manipulation, or retrieval of public records unless it first determines that the system will not impair or impede the agency's ability to permit the public inspection and examination, and to provide electronic copies of such records.”

The law also states the requirement to have an index for the database:  “The index shall be a public record and shall include, at a minimum, the following information with respect to each database listed therein:

·         a list of the data fields;

·         a description of the format or record layout;

·         information as to the frequency with which the database is updated;

·         a list of any data fields to which public access is restricted; AND

·         a description of each form in which the database can be copied or reproduced using the agency's computer facilities”

This would include emails as they are stored and classified.

This would include crime data as it is stored and classified.

This would include numerous other information known and processed by all City of Charlotte employees, especially CMPD employees, who are charged with enforcing the law.

Nearly $90 million of the City’s budget goes toward policing.  Then there’s another $50 million in DNC 2012 Security Fund Grants doled out to Charlotte.  There is other Grant money, too, and Asset Forfeiture money.  We deserve accountability.

As a man who influences and decides how hundreds of millions of dollars of public money are spent, among other things, it is the public’s right to know how Charlotte’s Chief of Police is conducting business.

Rodney Monroe’s Travel

A public records request was input in an effort to find out these things about Chief Rodney Monroe’s travel since he arrived in Charlotte:

·       Where he has traveled

·       Who traveled with him

·       What the purpose of the travel was

·       How much it cost

·       Who paid for it

Citynewswatch has obtained a long string of emails beginning September 15th, 2010, sent to ask about travel expenses for the Chief and anyone who traveled with him since he became Police Chief in Charlotte.  The first was sent separately from a request for expenses for a trip the Chief and his wife, along with others, took to Orlando, Florida in October, 2010.  Separate emails were sent the same day so other travel records for that single trip could be handled quickly.  However, three-and-a-half months later CMPD had completely denied the request, blocking public records and prompting a plea for help from the Department of Justice to intervene.

To: bcunningham <>
Sent: Thu, Sep 15, 2011 2:33 pm
Subject: Chief's travel expenses

Dear Captain Cunningham,

As promised, here is a separate request to ask for all travel expenses incurred by the Chief and anyone who traveled with him, by year and itemized. I'm sure there is a code to indicate the Chief so that this should be fairly easy to locate the records.

This NCDOJ assist did result in some action.  However, CMPD has still only sent partial records that show this information for FY11 only:

·       One year instead of all the years that Chief Monroe has been here, as requested

·       For that one year, only CMPD employees that traveled with Chief Monroe, not inclusive of non-CMPD employees (such as the Chief’s wife) that traveled with him and any possible expenses incurred

·       For that year almost no expenses for food or other lodging, car rental, credit card charges, etc… are included.   If someone else covered those expenses, that should be stated.

·       All of these issues for all years requested should be stated.

Chief Monroe, all the City Council members (pre-election) and Mayor, City Manager, Public Affairs, City Finance Manager Greg Gaskins, and the City Attorney in charge of Public Records, Mujeeb Shah-Khan, and Cheryl Brown in Human Resources were all notified of the violation of public records law in connection with hiding the expenses related to travel of Chief Monroe, but continued to allow it.

With this kind of prolonged, intentional covering up of possible wrong actions on the part of the Office of the Chief should be questioned, examined, and corrected.  It is another in a long line of similar actions.  And what is the reason for it?  Why is there no response at all from Mayor Foxx or Council again?

Are there contacts with vendors happening on this travel?  Are vendors involved in paying expenses?  Is there anything inappropriate going on?  Are the employees and non-employees traveling on these trips going for business purposes?

Let’s Play a Game:  Where’s Rodney?

Let’s make a list of all the trips we know the Chief of Police has taken since he arrived in Charlotte, and keep working until we match it up with expense reports—including the source of funds for those expenses.  Don’t forget the times he slips out of town without telling anyone, like the recent trip to Washington DC that caught when Monroe’s head popped up behind Eric Holder at a Congressional hearing--for moral support, I guess?

How is it possible that our Chief of Police is on CNN sitting behind Attorney General Eric Holder, who is testifying at a Congressional Hearing about Fast and Furious, and nobody in local network media reported about it?  How is it possible that only local blogger,, reported it?  CMPD didn’t put out a press release to inform anyone.  Who paid for his trip to Washington, D.C.?  Did the Chief take vacation time or was it considered work-related for him to babysit Eric Holder?

Until the CMPD and the City of Charlotte decide to be open and honest, follow the law of Open Records, we must assume there is a reason for the ongoing secrecy.  Mayor Anthony Foxx seems to follow the same philosophy for himself as well as approving of this for Monroe.

Is intimidation involved? Or just secrecy?

To read just a few of the denials, delays, and concerns expressed so far, read below.  After contact with the NC Department of Justice finally produced a few incomplete records, several more notices were sent, but it looks like more intervention from NCDOJ will be required to get Chief Monroe and the City of Charlotte to comply with the law.  The deficiencies of the items finally sent after 3 ½ months and DOJ help have been laid out expressly.

-----Original Message-----
From: (name withheld)>
To: ggaskins <>; mshah-khan <>; kmcmillan <>
Cc: bcunningham <>; cwalton <>; afoxx <>; councilmancannon <>; barnesdistrict4 <>; jasonburgess <>; n3157w <>; warren <>; adulin1 <>; info <>; jamesdistrict2 <>; pkinsey <>; epeacock <>; district3_turner <>; kmcmillan <>; cityclerk <>; clbrown <>; rmonroe <>

Sent: Mon, Oct 31, 2011 5:30 pm
Subject: Re: PUBLIC RECORDS REQUESTED SEPT 15, NOT PROVIDED for Chief's travel expenses and those who traveled with him

Mr. Gaskins, Mr. Shah-Khan, Ms. McMillan,

For over six weeks now, the Office of the Chief has refused to fill this request exposing travel records for the Chief of Police and anyone who may have traveled with him. The attorneys responsible for knowing the law and the rights of the public to have these records which belong to the public have been informed. The Chief’s Manager has been informed. The Finance Manager, who has all the records and should be the one to release them has been informed. To date, no one has provided these records or the requisite statutory reason for the denial of the records.

Please provide the records in full today. Thank you.

-----Original Message-----
From: (name withheld)>
To: clbrown <>
Sent: Tue, Nov 8, 2011 8:39 pm

Subject: Re: PUBLIC RECORDS REQUESTED SEPT 15, NOT PROVIDED for Chief's travel expenses and those who traveled with him

Dear Ms. Brown,

I have written this to you:

Please see that the travel records for Police Chief Rodney Monroe and those of any possible co-travelers have not been provided for nearly two months. It seems there is a concerted effort to block information about what has occurred, who has paid for it, etc... There are numerous City of Charlotte employees involved who are not following the public records law to respond to this, and I believe you should take this up as a complaint and investigate. Perhaps there is pressure being exerted to keep these records from being released (which would be no excuse) and perhaps these employees should be interviewed to find out why they will not release the records, and also simultaneously to secure any records involved.

and asked that you respond to the issues at hand: It seems that City of Charlotte employees are under pressure not to release the travel records of the Chief of Police and those who traveled with him.

Are you responding to me that someone else is investigating that issue of the pressure possibly exerted on employees not to reveal these records? If so, who would that be? Please give me the name and position of that person.

Also, again, whatever you have been told, these public records have not been provided for multiple requests over a two month period. So telling me that you have been informed the request is "being handled" is not a satisfactory resolution. If they handled it, I would have the records and would have had no reason to contact you in the first place. I do not understand your denial as an HR Representative to investigate possible pressure into covering up what may be potential wrong behavior on the part of highly-powered official(s) in the City. Please respond.

Please see that the travel records for Police Chief Rodney Monroe and those of any possible co-travelers have not been provided for nearly two months. It seems there is a concerted effort to block information about what has occurred, who has paid for it, etc... There are numerous City of Charlotte employees involved who are not following the public records law to respond to this, and I believe you should take this up as a complaint and investigate. Perhaps there is pressure being exerted to keep these records from being released (which would be no excuse) and perhaps these employees should be interviewed to find out why they will not release the records, and also simultaneously to secure any records involved.

NC Department of Justice to the Rescue

First, see documents CMPD sent, claiming that Rodney Monroe’s travel for FY2011 amounted to only $5,902 (even though it wasn’t the total requested, it’s still interesting reading).  Also, see that CMPD says only $5,981 were the travel expenses for all CMPD employees who traveled with Rodney Monroe during FY2011 (again, not what was requested but still interesting).  Part of the expenses included a trip to Orlando, Florida.  Chief Monroe and his wife had specifically accepted an invitation to an Orlando reception for the production company that filmed the First 48 television show in Charlotte.  It’s unknown whether Vicki Foster or others who went to Orlando attended that reception, but Ms. Foster had a special interest in the show and possibly another show she and her partner were trying to pitch during the time Chief Monroe signed the City of Charlotte to a contract for the First 48 show.  Details of both are in this previous post.

Then see the deficiencies and know that apparently CMPD will continue to deny them until forced to turn over the information by NCDOJ or perhaps others:

The message to Captain Cunningham read in part:

“Please see the original request made in early September for ALL travel expenses by the Chief and anyone who traveled with him, by year, and itemized.

Aside from taking many months, many requests, and a plea through the DOJ to get a response, you have given me only one year of expenses.  Thank you for the single year of expenses.  Please send the expenses prior to that year.  Please send the expenses since July 2011.

Please also certify that there were no additional expenses charged to the department and no other City or non-City employees traveling with the named personnel, or provide the names and expenses of those who did travel if that is the case.  There were also requests to clarify the purposes of travel.”

Possibly other expenses were included in conferences or there is another explanation, but the continuous attempts to refuse answers and the overall activity cause concern.

Different Inquiries About a trip to Puerto Rico

Citynewswatch received two different sets of routed inquiries regarding what was called a CMPD Recruiting Trip to Puerto Rico in May, 2010.  Rumblings among a wide swath of the department and some of the community at large have questioned why CMPD personnel would travel so far to a tropical island where the United States has noted terrible human rights violations among the police in order to recruit for CMPD… and apparently come back empty-handed on top of that. 

The specific allegations are that this island trip was more about a reward for some employees than a work trip, but all efforts to ask for any positive information directly from the source were met with contempt. 

The recruiting staff refused to say they recruited anyone or were “successful.”  Public Affairs denied any answer for a long time.  Judy Emken said the travel records and other information were not public information—which isn’t true.  Chief Monroe never answered.  Curt Walton said he didn’t want to say the trip was successful, but that the rest of the information was public.  After an enormous amount of writing back and forth, they finally released a spreadsheet of some expenses, while still refusing to say if any traveling companions went on the trip, or if a single Puerto-Rican recruit was developed.  No word on any tanning that developed.

Why, in these difficult financial times, did someone make the decision to spend at least $9,800 to increase the Spanish-speaking level of recruits on the force when Charlotte is approximately 12% Spanish–speaking already?  What about the veterans leaving the armed forces, many of whom are already highly-trained and highly-motivated, and have a high rate of Spanish-Speaking personnel available to recruit in the area? 

When you consider that this single trip cost about double what they claim the whole year’s expenses for the Chief cost, it just all doesn’t add up.

Call on City Council to Adhere to Open Records

Monroe has been to everywhere from the West Coast to Australia since coming to our town, and has been responsible for doling out untold millions in contract awards.   City Council is still refusing to tell us the most limited information about how he spent $600,000 on rearranging the furniture, or some such thing, at police headquarters.  They still won’t say where a couple of million dollars’ worth of new police cars went.  And we still don’t have access to our real crime data.

How much longer will this continue?

It seems it will continue as long as hiding the real crime data will allow politicians to say crime is down without any evidence of it.


  1. Do any of these FACTS really surprise anyone?

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  5. Several comments have been removed because they are unrelated to this story and contained items which, among onther issues, Citynewswatch could not confirm as true. If the writer of the comments would like to send information via e-mail to, it will be reviewed and responded to as appropriate.

    This site has a primary focus on City business, City politics, and CMPD business which makes up a huge part of the City's budget and business, with a few other pieces of interest. Editorial staff is interested to hear whatever you have to say on those topics.