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Sunday, August 26, 2012



Monday, August 27th, is the first day back to school for most kids in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System.  That means kids of all ages and their parents will pour onto the streets, excited and maybe stressed on their way to class in the midst of rush hour traffic.  Please:
  • ·        Watch for children, tiny and teen
  • ·        Talk with kids about all kinds of safety (see tips to follow)
  • ·        SLOW DOWN in school zones.  It’s the law and the right thing to do.


The National Center for the Missing and Exploited Children has put together this list of important safety tips: 
An analysis by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children of attempted abductions during the past five years found that children are at most risk when going to and from school or school related activities1.

Parents and other adults can help keep children safe by following these ten tips2:

1.    Teach your children to always TAKE A FRIEND with them when walking or biking, and stay with a group while standing at the bus stop. Make sure they know which bus to ride.
2.    Walk the route to and from school with your children pointing out landmarks and safe places to go if they're being followed or need help. Teach your children they should NEVER TAKE SHORTCUTS and always stay in well-lit areas. 
3.    It is not safe for young children to walk to and from school, even in a group. Parents should always provide supervision for young children to help ensure their safe arrival to and from school. If your children wait for a bus, wait with them or make arrangements for supervision at the bus stop. 
4.    Teach your children that if anyone bothers them, makes them feel scared or uncomfortable to trust their feelings and immediately get away from that person. Teach them it is ok not to be polite and IT IS OK TO SAY NO.
5.    Teach your children if anyone tries to take them somewhere they should RESIST by kicking and screaming, try to run away and DRAW ATTENTION by kicking and screaming "This person is trying to take me away" or "This person is not my father/mother."
6.    Teach your children NOT TO ACCEPT A RIDE from anyone unless you have said it is ok in that instance. If anyone follows them in a vehicle they should turn around, go in the other direction, and run to a trusted adult who may help them.
7.    Teach your children that grownups should NOT ASK CHILDREN FOR DIRECTIONS, they should ask other adults.
8.    Teach your children to NEVER ACCEPT MONEY OR GIFTS from anyone unless you have told them it is ok to accept in each instance.
9.    Make sure the school has current and accurate emergency contact information on file for your children and confirm names of those authorized.
10.  Always know where your children will be. Teach your children to always CHECK FIRST before changing their plans before or after school. Teach your children to never leave school, with anyone unless they CHECK FIRST with you or another trusted adult, even if someone tells them it is an emergency.

Children should be taught to trust their feelings. They need to know that if someone makes them feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused, they should tell a parent, guardian, or trusted adult.

Texting, sexting, cyberbullies, Facebook bullies, Twitter messages, can all get out of control in a hurry, even at very young ages.  Have an in-depth discussion—and many more after—with your pre-teens and teens about the right way to use technology and let them do much of the talking about how they use it, what they see and hear, and any concerns that come up.  Have open-door policies and check cell phone bills, scan texts once in a while, and keep computers in a public area of the house.  Passwords should be accessible to parents.  You don’t have to look all the time.  You don’t have to be an invasive spy, but letting kids have the backup to say “my parents would see that” is often the difference between safety and trouble, even if they complain to you about it.

Don’t forget, kids sometimes create multiple accounts.

Establish rules for checking in, emergency numbers, backup contacts, and know the names of your childrens’ friends and their parents, along with how to reach them.  How many phone numbers could you rattle off in this day of programming numbers into mobile devices?

Make sure young children know their last names, parents' full names, the street and address of home, home phone numbers (work, too, if possible), and place parents work.  Be sure the school has up-to-date contact information.

Pack a lunch the night before if possible and have a little lunch money.

Make sure everyone lays out clothes, school supplies packed in backpacks, and anything they’ll need for after school until pickup.  This will help the morning rush and nerves.

Have directions or school bus stop information prepared ahead of time and leave early so nobody is rushing.  Make sure all children are accounted for when you empty out the minivan at home or work—this is not a joke.  It has happened when people are in a new routine.

CMS Helpful Link Page
For parents with kids going back to school, check with this Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools back-to-school page that contains a checklist with everything you need to know before the kids go back:

Student Assignment:
Registration & Address Update

Vaccines and physicals required

Bus Stops:
Locations & times.   SOME HAVE CHANGED
If you have questions about transportation, call 980-343-6715

School Bell Schedule

Required Supplies
Vary by individual school
Open House

ASEP After School Enrichment Programs

Now go, and learn, and have fun!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

4-Year-Old Hero Xander Vento


Photo Credit: from WFAA-TV 

4-year-Old “Angel in the Pool” Xander Vento has now died after he saw a three year old girl struggling in the deep end of the pool and moved to hold her head up above water, according to AP.  

He saved the little girl, but became exhausted and fell to the bottom of the pool.  Little Xander lapsed into a coma and did not come out of it.

Cris and Misty Vento have decided to donate their tiny hero son’s organs, to help save even more children in his name.  The parents released a statement saying “We in some way hope our son’s life serves as an inspiration… He was the angel in the pool who sacrificed himself to save another.”

Inspiration accomplished. 

Reports say his mother was at the pool but gave no other information.

AP story, also see KFAA and KHOU for coverage in Texas.  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

First Phase Over, but WHY Demote Sergeant Hatley?

It took $111K in her attorney’s fees, another amount yet undetermined from the extremely expensive outside firm of Robinson, Hinson, & Bradshaw hired by the City of Charlotte to defend the suit (unsuccessfully) filed by former Response Area Command Sergeant Tammy Hatley regarding a lack of due process when she was unfairly demoted after 28 of her 30 years of service as a dedicated CMPD officer.

In addition, there were many hours of internal billing for attorneys that work for the City & CMPD, and countless other hours of CMPD & HR personnel time to have a judge explain to Police Chief Rodney Monroe that he must follow due process dealing with his employees.

While the monetary award directly to Sgt. Hatley was only $12,000 of back pay after all of this expense and time, it is a proper victory to be sure but a difficult to understand fight against her own department.  That’s because even now, no one from her Chief Rodney Monroe to City Manager Curt Walton or any other representative has given any explanation as to why this happened to a 30-year veteran officer who received nothing but glowing and excellent PRD's (Performance Review and Development) her entire service and earned the respect of many officers she trained and worked with.  The only issue that developed was a sudden and seemingly artificial complaint from command in the midst of great crackdown on crime in one of the high-crime neighborhoods in her Response Area which Hatley credited to the hard work of her team, as always.

Strange, Sudden Orders to Change PRD's?
See below the summary of events submitted, and it defies any rational explanation.  RAC Sgt. Hatley had the #1 Crime Statistics out of the 39 RAC’s in the City, but was reamed out at a Compstat meeting for two things:  1) She and her team had merely arrested 7 armed robbery suspects since the last Compstat meeting (and the crime statistics had stayed the same in burglary in the neighborhood of Enderly Park, rather than dropping—but did not increase) and   2) The Deputy Chief also berated her because she was not familiar with a Crime Bulletin that was emailed.  The problem is, that Bulletin had been sent to a completely different RAC who was sitting next to her but remained silent at the meeting with the DC.  It was identified later, but damage done.

These hardly seem reasons to change someone’s performance rating after 28 years from “exceptional” to “marginal” to “unacceptable performance” then force them out of their job, move them to a third shift position, and demote them to a different rank.  All of these things happened to Sgt. Hatley.  Also, she did not receive incentive pay and longevity pay she should have been eligible for 2010, which will affect her retirement.

Here is a summary of events submitted regarding Tammy Hatley:

Timeline of Issues Regarding Performance Probation and Demotion

9/17/08:    Signed yearly PRD for the performance period 7/7/07 through 7/5/2008Rated as Exceptional Performance.    The next review date was scheduled for 7/4/2009.

9/18/08:    Promoted to the rank of RAC with no change in PRD rating period.

7/4/09:     Captain Bellamy did not complete a PRD during 2009.

3/10/10:    Captain Bellamy came to my office and gave me a PRD for the rating period of 7/5/08 through 7/3/09.  He rated me as Performance Exceeds Expectations and had no conversation with me regarding concerns for my job performance.

3/19/10:    I was called to Major Graue’s office and told that Capt. Bellamy and she had generated a PRD rating me as marginal and placing me on performance probation for the next 90 days.  I was given a list of expectation and told I would receive feedback from Capt. Bellamy every two weeks regarding my progress.

4/12/10:    Capt. Bellamy came to my office and gave me the back page of a PRD and told me sign it stating that he was told to change my evaluation from “marginal” to “unacceptable performance” to have me placed on performance probation.  I was not given a copy of the entire evaluation or the page I signed.  I later obtained a copy of this evaluation from Human Resources and found that no performance dimension in this PRD was rated at unacceptable.  Only the back, and I assume the front, pages had been changed.
During this time I sought medical attention for the extreme stress I was suddenly being put under with no notice.  My physician completed the appropriate paperwork for me to take 2 weeks of sick leave.   I received a copy of the FMLA Eligibility and Designation Notification to the Employee approving my time to be recorded as FMLA.  This form was dated 5/4/10.

4/23/10:    Major Graue met with me to discuss my progress.  The document stated “Sgt. Hatley has shown significant improvement in the areas that Major Graue and I (Capt. Bellamy) asked her to focus on.”  The document listed five positive behaviors and no negative one.  It further stated “I (Capt. Bellamy) would like to commend Sgt. Hatley for seizing the opportunity to improve while demonstrating a positive attitude.

No further communication took place with Major Graue (who had been promoted to DC) or Capt. Bellamy until sometime after the June 10th Compstat.  The document is not dated but states “This is the second review with RAC Hatley for her Performance Probation.  Sgt. Hatley has continued to show improvement in the areas that Major Graue and I asked her to focus on.”  Four positive behaviors were listed.  One negative comment was made as the result of the Compstat.  The final comment is “I would like to comment Sgt. Hatley for seizing the opportunity to improve while demonstrating a positive attitude but encourage her to continue to seek new ways to address ongoing issues in the Enderly Park Community.

6/16/10:    Chief Monroe approved the request from DC Putney to have me relieved of my assigned.  His memorandum to the Chief is dated 6/8/10.

For the year to date crime reduction ratings among the 39 City response areas, 
RAC Sgt. Tammy Hatley’s area was ranked #1
with a 28% reduction in part one crimes for the period of 1/1/10 to 6/13/10.

Three days later, Chief Monroe approved her removal from assignment and demotion.

Grievances, Policies & Procedures
Sergeant Hatley had tried to file a grievance with the City of Charlotte HR department before filing a lawsuit, but was instructed to wait until the end of the 90 day performance probation period.  She has filed a grievance now, but he City continues to drag their feet in responding.  Maybe a several hundred thousand dollars in expenses and the loss of an excellent officer and trainer aren’t sufficient yet to cause a review of Monroe’s policies and procedures.

Several officers have complained off record of the “new” policies from CMPD management that “PUSH AND DIRECT” management are leading to some bad decisions within CMPD, and bad outcomes.  Threats, transfers, and demotions are not a good way to way to run any organization, especially one so critically dependent on teamwork and communication for survival—literally.

Thirty Years of Service Deemed Exceptional (until someone ordered otherwise)
Tammy Hatley was a SWAT Negotiator for 22 years.  Since she was promoted to Sergeant in 1998, she worked one of the most challenging areas of Charlotte as Patrol Sergeant, then Administrative Sergeant, working her way to a 24 hour/day RAC Sergeant position that Monroe credited with bringing down crime across the City.  He later claimed the positions weren’t real positions, but that has been proven wrong by Hatley’s lawsuit—a precedent now set for other RAC Sergeants. 

Hatley worked for many different supervisors and always received excellent reviews.  As a supervisor, she has earned respect of those she trained, helped them achieve status as #1 crime reduction in some of the toughest areas of town, and helped many go on to be selected for specialized positions.          

Maybe an Internal Affairs complaint would be the best way to discover possible lack of truthfulness and/or failure to follow Policy and Procedure issues with Captain Bellamy, Major Graue, and Deputy Chief Putney, regarding letters requesting a demotion and related items.  The IA process would instigate an investigation into the promotion/demotion/transfer processes used and determine what prompted Hatley’s apparent targeting.  

Sgt. Hatley reflects now, “I would just have liked to have retired as an employee who did a good job for thirty years.  If nothing else, I hope those officers that I worked with and supervised over the years learned something from me.”

Sgt. Hatley deserved respect for the way she conducted herself on the job.  She deserved a paycheck, fair treatment, and answers to what was behind the decision to change her stellar performance reviews from “Exceptional” to “Unacceptable” after 28 years--at someone’s instruction.  


Saturday, August 4, 2012


There’s another legal victory for former CMPD Response Area Command Sergeant Tammy Hatley in her suit against the City of Charlotte which found Police Chief Rodney Monroe had used unfair practices (lack of due process) within the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department.

On July 30th, Plaintiff Tammy Hatley has been awarded $109,635 in attorney’s fees plus $1,581 in taxable costs awarded by consent of Defendant’s attorney.  Here is the new court order.

Find details of the lawsuit, Judge Max Coburn’s previous order finding a lack of due process against the Defendant City of Charlotte, and other information about City Manager Curt Walton and HR involvement with Rodney Monroe’s decisions, read this previous post.