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Monday, February 6, 2012


Most of the previous City Council recently admitted they were barely paying attention and had no idea they voted to give approval for City Manager Curt Walton to contract $50 Million of our money with zero oversight and zero disclosure (so far).

It seems like a good idea to remind the old council members and point out to new ones some very serious issues with lack of CMPD oversight.  It’s obvious the lack of accountability reaches far beyond this singular $50 Million issue of a police state that has been authorized, so let’s review a few:

Accurate Crime information, a fairly secret program (SHOP Shoplifting Offender Project) to keep crime statistics off the books, proper personnel decisions, contracting issues with vendors even outside the $50 Million in DNC 2012 contracts, truthfulness in statements from ‘leadership,’ millions in grant and budget money allocated for questionable spending while most police officers get no raises, equipment purchased from vendors with past relationships with the Chief of Police (with equipment that doesn’t work properly), documented recruiting standards changed while the police chief publicly says they have not been, missing police cars…  here is a look back to some of those items with a hope that Mayor Foxx and City Council will get answers and give them to the public, as they are chartered to do.

Starting with the most urgent overall problem, the CMPD is operating in whatever level of secrecy Chief Monroe calls for instead of the appropriate level of public transparency.
Public Records Laws are being held in absolute contempt, and to date, no City Council Member or Mayor has shown the leadership to hold the City Manager accountable.

The City Council Code of Ethics spells out exactly the need for City leaders to hold the Manager and Police Chief responsible.  Part of section 5 states:

They should also remember that local government records belong to the public and not to them or City employees.
In order to ensure strict compliance with the laws concerning openness, the Mayor and Council members should make clear that an environment of transparency and candor is to be maintained at all times in the governmental unit. They should prohibit unjustified delay in fulfilling public records requests.

The stability and proper operation of democratic reporesentative government depend upon public confidence in the integerity of the government and upon responsible exercise of the trust conferred by the people upon their elected officials.
A link to the full Code of Ethics is posted at right.

There is a multi-part series about crime statistics contained on this site (Links to all segments are on the right side of the page or use SEARCH THIS SITE for Crime Statistics Part 1, Part 2...).  The first piece, “Crime Reporting Questions and Jealous Reporters?” has to do with Monroe’s really odd accusations that reporters might just be jealous of him as a motivation for asking for the real crime numbers.  Monroe had removed information from the public shortly after arriving as Chief of Police for Charlotte, then quickly claimed radical drops in crime at the same time refusing to release the raw data and denying he had made any changes in reporting methods.  The public has been trying to get that information back ever since.

It’s very hard to take Chief Monroe’s claims of dramatic crime reduction every year he’s been her seriously when he refuses to show the actual numbers and reports his claims are based on.

“Crime Reporting Questions and Jealous Reporters?” is also an extensive explanation of why it’s so important to get the classification of Type I and Type II crimes correct, not only for accuracy and because it’s the legal thing to do, but because grant money, staffing levels, and other critical decisions are based on the accurate reporting of the serious, Type I crimes for our city.

The CMPD Attorney’s Office gave information that Calls for Service for the year totaled 360,743, even though many other sources put the real number closer to a million.  They refuse to explain the discrepancy.

Chief Monroe told City Council there had been no changes in the way crime was being reported, but CMPD reports have footnotes stating that there have been changes as well as that CMPD numbers may not follow UCR reporting standards.

In addition to that, despite Monroe hiding the data, numerous examples of falsely reporting the type and severity of crime have been identified.

The most urgent daily issue may be the years of crime data that has been suppressed by Chief Monroe.  We need to know the information he has removed and has refused to supply through public records requests as well:

This post has a good explanation of all the information we need and why, but here is some of what has been removed over the last few years, and is mostly not available still:
1) Calls for service
2) Significant Event Log
3) Correct Uniform Crime Reporting Numbers, as they relate directly to the numbers above
4) Internal Affairs reports
5) Minutes of the Civil Service Board
6) Complete Police Department Budget

Read here where Chief Monroe’s Public Affairs Captain, Brain Cunningham, promised a citizen in 2010 that the CMPD web site was ‘under construction’ and the information would be back up soon.  The misinformation out of that office is frustrating, at best.

This Part 5 post describes one reason “Why Every Citizen Should Care about Crime Reporting” and explains about a situation in New York, the birthplace of the CompStat computerized statistical reporting system which is also used here in Charlotte.  The pressure from the brass seemed to lead to underreporting of crime and in an illustrative case led directly to a serial rapist allowed to continue raping women because some earlier crimes were downgraded on reports.

It is also the story of hero cop Adrian Schoolcraft who tried to reform his department of the bad practices, but was instead attacked, dragged out of his home one Halloween by about a dozen uniformed and Brass in blue, labeled insane and locked away from all contact with the outside world for several days to intimidate him.  If he hadn’t had second tape recorder going of the terrifying events where he was essentially told he should have known better than to tell on his fellow cops, things might be very different for him now.  Other officers are stepping up to support him, but the charges of public corruption because public officials knew of the wrong practices and conspired to hide it are still under investigation.

"CompState, Investigations, Crime Statistics Part 6" continues the Schoolcraft story, but goes into more depth about the Comptstat system investigation into corruption in NY, and also how the numbers in Charlotte don’t seem to be correct.  There have been allegations of career damage here in Charlotte, too, whether anyone has been dragged off to a mental ward to intimidate them or not.
Nearly unbelievably, on Feb. 9, 2009, Chief Monroe stood before City Council and explained how he thought the concept of ‘predictive analytics’ would be something to explore for use in police work.  A contract worth millions was awarded to Information Builders to produce a system for CMPD, which Monroe and his Deputy Chief Harold Medlock gave presentations to advertise—won awards for, as a matter of fact.  Those awards seem to be just more promotion for the company.  

The unbelievable part is that Monroe not only knew all about Information Builders at the time he spoke to council, but he had previously worked with them and advertised for them for years as Chief of Police in Richmond, VA.  There’s no word if direct compensation was involved, but with the odd subterfuge and multimillion-dollar contract involved, maybe someone should double check.

Even worse, the computer programs apparently don’t work for most officers on the streets because they take so long to boot up (nearly half an hour) that most officers reportedly don’t use the system in their cars.  It’s largely used by upper-level employees to prepare for those often-brutal Compstat meetings to try to get reported numbers down.

This latest deal with TASER is really a difficult-to-describe mess.  Several posts on this site contain explanation of how Monroe met with TASER, Inc. officials to celebrate closing the sale of almost $2 Million of new TASERS before City Council voted to approve the sale.
Next came a ridiculous response from CMPD Attorney Judy Emken attempting to justify signing of contracts with no effective dates on them, contracts she said weren’t signed when they apparently had been, and contracts signed more than a month after TASER was advertising shipment of the sale to CMPD (without the required separate contract allowing advertising), followed up with Emken’s letter saying the person requesting must be “confused” by all the irregular contracts—along with letters that went unanswered to the Mayor and Council about the whole situation.

Then, the PERF consulting review that was supposed to be part of the decision-making matrix to buy the TASER X-2’s was obtained, and clearly states that the X-2 purchase decision was made prior to their involvement, contrary to what Monroe presented to Council and the public.

Rodney Monroe told council he did competitive searches and also looked for opportunities to lease.  We’d like to see the paperwork on that.

Having Rodney Monroe in charge of DNC 2012 security may be an issue when he stated in interviews he had more experience than he may have had.  See this link to watch the WSOC interview where he claimed he had been in charge of security for two presidential inaugurations and the Million Man March in Washington, DC.  However, since he made that first claim and citynewswatch announced that even based on his own prior statements, he only headed security for the 1992 Presidential Inauguration and the Million Man March, Monroe has ceased stating he headed the third event.  citynewswatch has not been able to confirm independent of Monroe’s prior statements that he headed the other two events, either.

Maybe this experience is in his background check, conducted by Waters Consulting Company, Inc., conducted before Monroe was hired by Curt Walton in 2008, confirmed by City Council and the Mayor.  Monroe also admitted publicly that he had been dishonest on his resume and stated he had received a degree in Criminal Justice, though the degree awarded to him was in in Interdisciplinary Studies.  He later said he was trying to convey that he had taken an emphasis in Criminal Justice, however it was discovered that he only took 6 credit hours out of his 120 at Virginia Commonwealth University. 

VCU later admitted they shouldn’t have awarded him a degree, but declined to take it back and mostly took responsibility for Chief Monroe not being able to read and understand the graduation requirements.  Most of Monroe’s credit hours were from an on-line college, paid with reimbursement from the municipality.  Public records requests for these reimbursements, said to exceed allowed amount, are in large part how the entire degree scandal that took out several top VCU officials was exposed.
Monroe announced four years ago when he came here that he would take coursework at a college here to earn his degree.   Strangely, about a year after that, Monroe told Richmond, VA magazine Style Weekly he had already completed 18 credit hours toward his Master’s degree.  However, he never mentioned that when numerous reporters here in Charlotte asked him if he had begun taking the rest of his undergraduate work yet.  There is no independent confirmation of these Masters classes he referred to.

WBTV recently aired an editorial on the topic, explaining they felt he shouldn’t have “an incomplete” and should to take the undergraduate classes that were a job requirement, after all.  The undergraduate degree is a minimum job requirement for many lower-level jobs in the police force as well. 

When someone set up for a private security company in Charlotte to get paid DNC security money for training to benefit that private company, citynewswatch did a story about it.  Metro Security had been on television to explain how they would be getting public money to get training that would benefit this private security company.  This seemed like the wrong strategy when money could have gone to our police officers who are continually told there is no money for raises.  The coverage included Metro Security’s Craigslist posting for new employees to pay them for this training, and then get paid $8.50/hour.  This seemed ill-conceived as top-level security by the nation’s best.

With so many issues that keep coming up about Monroe’s background and ongoing issues, it causes questions about what was in the background check commissioned by Charlotte before his hiring.  Were these issues disclosed in the background check done by the company hired to investigate Monroe before he came here?  Did City Manager Curt Walton know everything there was to know and approve the hiring anyway?  What about Council and the Mayor?  OR did the consulting company not do a thorough check? 

Even though some personnel matters are generally kept sealed, the City Manager is permitted to unseal a background check if it becomes a matter of public trust.

Charlotte has spent millions of dollars already on lawsuits Monroe has stated he should have done things differently on (ex: Marcus Jackson cases).  There was a great deal of money spent on the lawsuit regarding the First 48 Television Show.

With the records of over 500 officers records missing from Charlotte’s Police Academy now, it seems we deserve to take a good look at qualifications.

One only has to check the newspapers or do a little checking with the feds to see that there was a federal lawsuit filed over grant money Monroe was in charge of two jobs ago, as Police Chief in Macon, GA.

The Macon Telegraph has numerous articles on the subject of federal funds intended to go directly to help troubled and at-risk youth. However, much of the money was allegedly used for unapproved purchases and to pay salaries for people, despite that it was not a permitted use. Other money was just plain unaccounted for.

Eventually, the small city of Macon settled for $1,000,000. 

Charlotte has numerous programs with large funds intended to go directly to help troubled and at-risk youth.

Of course, Chief Monroe likes to mix up his charity work and sports.  Read this post and see, but he does not like to answer financial questions, no matter how much public money goes into organizations.  This needs to change immediately.  Open the books.  It’s the law.

Since August of last year, Council won’t disclose why they approved another $600,000 for what Monroe called a “command center ‘upfit’.”  This money was spent out of Asset Forfeiture so it was supposed to be approved ahead of spending, but seems they may have been approving money already spent last year.

Later, Councilman Barnes made a show at the CC meeting of saying he had some concerns, but they had been addressed. There was no public statement of what his concerns were or how they were addressed.  The public is still in the dark.

Similarly, when Deputy Chief Graue stated to City Council that the Department had no idea what happened to 50 brand new police cars—about $2,000,000 minimum value.  Based on their refusal to say who is driving certain cars, and reports that some part-time employees and others that shouldn’t have the cars have been driving them home, they probably know where they are, but would rather not tell us.  It’s the least disturbing of all options. 

Were they sold for cash for someone’s personal benefit?  Are terrorists driving around in police cars?  Is Rodney Monroe so incompetent that even three months later he still can’t have his staff find 50 brand new police cars? 

This is inventory, folks.  Expensive inventory.  And we have a right to demand to know where those cars are.  We paid for them.  There’s another $2,000,000 or more that could have gone toward police raises.

The Human Resources Department that should process employee complaints just stated they refused to get involved.  They are certainly aware of discrimination, retaliation, and other complaints within the police department.  How is it acceptable for HR to say “we won’t take any action?”

City Manager Curt Walton seemed to orchestrate an intentionally delayed response with Chief Monroe and his Public Affairs Office when asked about raises, promotions, fairness of testing and promotions, positions that were not in CMPD Directives, and other issues.  Curt Walton refused to answer until a few MINUTES after Monroe announced the promotions, and even then tried to refer to Directives which didn’t exist.

Since then, Sergeant Tammy Hatley has won her lawsuit where a judge found the CMPD clearly violated her right to due process in related issues.  Others that were waiting to see how her lawsuit turned out are said to be in negotiations for related settlements and/or considering their own suits.
Then there’s the ongoing EEOC Federal investigation.

All of this Federal scrutiny is a good thing since City of Charlotte officials seem either completely unwilling or incapable of cleaning up their own behavior.  This is the best time for officers who have been too afraid of losing their pensions and jobs to speak up.

CMPD Attorney Mark Newbold has given an unrelated prior talk about how important is not to retaliate against employees once they have filed a complaint on the job.  Those guidelines should be in place before complaints are filed and should be stressed especially right now at CMPD.  Careful adherence to this policy should be stressed since so many officers are afraid to talk in the current atmosphere of widespread retaliation.
For half a year, using the full force of the CMPD Attorneys, his Public Affairs team, the City Attorneys, and the City Council to back him up (inexplicably) Rodney Monroe has absolutely refused to reveal the funding sources and outlets for the CMPD Blue Hornets Baseball Team. 

The non-profit company set up to receive and distribute money for the team is the “Great Balls of Fire Foundation, Inc,” in the name of Deputy Chief David Graham.  Board Member and designated contact for the group is Major Paul ZInkann.  The group receives public money and is therefore subject to release of this information. 

First, Public Affairs Captain (and the web site) Brian Cunningham claimed the players took care of all their own expenses. Asset Forfeiture funds labeled “team charlo” exceed $60,000 and CMPD refuses to answer whether those or another $5,000 in “monogramming” AF funds were used for the Team, though is seems likely and would very likely not be allowed per federal law. (Asset Forfeiture spending is a topic unto itself).

Also, covert donations from sponsors to police organizations should not be allowed—this is a safety consideration and also involves potential influence on lucrative security contracts.

Deputy Chief David Graham receiving the benefits of a tax shelter for what appears to be hundreds of thousands of write-offs related to public money going through the police department may be a conflict that should be resolved as well, particularly when the participants are not disclosed.

Major Zinkann was also intricately involved for Chief Monroe in the making of the First 48 television production about police officers in Charlotte.  At that time,  Chief Monroe signed away the perpetual rights of all police officers, on- and off-duty, as well as encumbering the City of Charlotte in numerous ways, by signing a contract for a television show about police work which had already proven to be risky to possibly deadly in other cities before he did so.

Even though legal responsibilities of the City of Charlotte City Council include signing contracts on behalf of the City, there was not any other city signature other than Monroe, who at the time had his close assistant (now Deputy Chief) Vicki Foster working with him on the show as well.  She and her live-in security guard company partner Melvin Keys were pitching a “security guard reality show” to production companies at the same time, regardless of CMPD regulations on secondary employment.

CMPD Attorney Mark Newbold, in accordance with the City Manager and City Attorney, intentionally withheld Chief Monroe’s correspondence from a public records request about this entire matter, with the exception of one email of no consequence (and the contract he signed).  There is separate documentation showing that Newbold instructed others not to ask Monroe for his correspondence to respond to public records requests.  If Newbold ever asked Monroe for it himself, it was not ultimately provided.  You can read in the post what seems to be a strategy of keeping Monroe out of documented trouble as much as possible.

Chief Monroe has denied since broke the story back in mid-September that CMPD Officers’ personnel records are missing from the Police Academy and possibly other locations.  After asking the Department of Justice to intervene, they released a partial memo that was a clear admission the records of numerous officers were missing, but wouldn’t say how many or answer questions about the implications of the missing records for officers’ certifications, cases, security, or other important issues.

citynewswatch has now learned that over 500 Officers’ records are known missing, though the last known time they were secure has not been established yet. 

How does the Chief of Police that will be heading security for DNC manage to have records for 500 Officers disappear under his nose from his Police Academy?  Were they intentionally removed?   Is it true that the Academy has now lost certification and the next recruit classes are canceled?

More than one blog—here and at—lent a written voice for officers about the security risk and wasted expense of the mandatory CMPD “Yearbook” photos Monroe tried to instate.  Raising this concern publicly seemed to cause the change in policy to make it non-mandatory, but it shouldn’t have taken place at all.
In addition to the waste of money and security risk, it seems even officers who paid to get a yearbook haven’t received them half a year later.  What happened to the money?  What photographer and printing company were involved and was there competition, or was this another “recommendation from on high?”  We’d like to see the paperwork on this one, too.

Depending on what part of Charlotte you live in, your experience with crime and with the police will probably be quite different.  See what happened when a wealthy campaign donor had an irritating problem with pranksters stealing $7.50 plastic campaign signs from the grassy area out front of her house.  She placed a call to Patrick Cannon, who called his good buddy Rodney Monroe, and then Captain Martha Dozier set up her division with a multi-day undercover sting, cameras in unmarked cars behind bushes.  Estimated cost to the tax payers:  minimum $15,000. 

By contrast, a group of active neighbors on the West side Camp Greene neighborhood looking for a little information and support to keep a 75 bed parole house for violent convicted felons from moving in next to their churches and schools could not get a single response from Police, the Mayor, or any sitting Council Member.

Conducting the Citizen Survey this past year, Monroe used tax money to ask people if they had seen a police car in their neighborhood in the past year.  Guess what:  76% of respondents had seen one.  Brilliant use of our money.
Out of about 1 million calls to 911 per year, only 27 respondents were rated on their satisfaction with the police on how they were treated.

45% of the people were from the wealthiest, lowest-crime area in Charlotte: the Southeast Division.  And, 72% live in a single-family detached home, with another 11% in a condo or townhome.  It shouldn’t be a big surprise that most of those people felt pretty safe.  In past years, respondents were evenly split among Divisions, but maybe Monroe knew that wouldn’t produce good results.  Even these results were questionable.

·       Fear of Break-ins and Burglary JUMPED from 25% in 2008 to 38% in 2011
·       Fear of Assault, Rape, & Robbery SKYROCKETED from 12% in 2008 to 37% in 2011
·       Fear of Murder has gone up, too

Charlotte is certainly not as rough as the area of D.C. where Chief Monroe had cut his teeth as commander in a very rough area.  Here’s an example of his leadership there:
The information we’re entitled to here in Charlotte, and with the Public Records Laws we have now, is quite different than what is portrayed in this Washington, D.C. story.  Internal Affairs and peer reporting should be quite different than the scenario in this reporter’s story.  What are we really getting in our Police Leadership?  Is it different now?

We deserve the answers.  So do our officers who haven’t had a real raise in three years, while millions of dollars are funneled into Monroe’s special projects, special hires, and special cars—not to mention the lawsuits his leadership has encountered.

With City Council going on luxury vacations at $513/night, Mayor Foxx hiring yet another assistant at maybe $72,000/year, $2,000,000 in new TASERS most officers say are bulky and were unnecessary to begin with, $5,000,000 for new cars when the Chief says he can’t find $2,000,000 in other brand new cars we already have, and the list goes on…

It’s frustrating to put your life on the line to be a Police Officer with no raises for years, unfair hiring and promotion practices (proven in court lack of due process), allegations of EEOC violations, allegations of retaliatory job transfers and demotions, Internal Affairs investigations opened on the Chief of Police with no known completion, covering up crimes allegedly committed by police officers until they are discovered by the public, seemingly voiding arrests of police officers allegations of brass level employees being permitted to drag employees in and abuse them for false beliefs they have supplied (truthful) information about them to another person, retaliatory disciplinary action, and refusing to have financial accountability for any actions taken.

Dear City Council,
Please account for all this missing money.
Please take any diverted or wasted funds and set them aside exclusively for raises for our officers that have not had a raise in years, despite the City Manager voting himself large bonuses and raises and Chief Monroe giving raises to his brass level employees, often under questionable circumstances.
Please release all crime information.
Please release all financial information for any “charitable” organizations related to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department.
Please investigate the personnel issues in the CMPD.
Please create a safe ombudsman for police and civilians alike to contact to report issues related to the police department that need investigation, including an anonymous mechanism if necessary.
Please investigate the connections between contracts awarded for police work and those in the police department.

Thank you.


  1. How much more digging could you do and stacking it up in front of them? Are these people blind?

  2. Public Corruption charges in NY? Oh. When will it be here? Good last article on overcharges in occpy. no way.

  3. tip of iceberg. sadly.

  4. They are blind when they want to be.Selective blindness.

    They have given rodney carte blanche and don't know how to take it back.

    When the real investigation into the corruption starts, all the enablers will be jumping ship to save their own butts.

    What rodney has done and continues to do on a daily basis has brought cmpd to lows in integrity, honesty, lack of ethics never thought imaginable. A thug setting an example for behavior, crazy.

  5. From what I have heard, so many bad decisions are made every day it is impossible to know what is going on.
    Bad decision on top of bad decision on top of more bad decisions leaves you with a freaking dysfunctional freaking nightmare.

  6. Well we all know the feds aren't going to get involved as long as Holder is in charge. Has anyone considered contacting Roy Cooper's office and seeing if anything can be done on the state side? Maybe citynewswatch could forward his office everything they have and show the blatant disregard for public record laws and questionable dealings going on. Food for thought.

  7. Well we all know the feds aren't going to get involved as long as Holder is in charge. Has anyone considered contacting Roy Cooper's office and seeing if anything can be done on the state side? Maybe citynewswatch could forward his office everything they have and show the blatant disregard for public record laws and questionable dealings going on. Food for thought.

  8. tonight's council meeting reinforced all of this. more talk about how people will be heard but no answers about the money.

  9. monroe's secret meetings and slamming doors have been increasing. his secrets are getting out and he's not happy. keep it up. don't be intimidated.