Entries in Charlotte (4)


Despite Crime Wave, 50 Chicago Police Sent to Dem Convention

ABC News(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- Only days after Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel asked for federal agents and U.S. Marshals to help combat the city's wave of violence, about 50 Chicago police officers have arrived in Charlotte, N.C., to work perimeter security details for a week at the Democratic National Convention.

The Chicago officers, in their distinctive uniforms and checkerboard-brimmed hats, said they had been instructed not to talk with reporters about their out-of-town assignment.

"These are officers on their days off and were specially trained as mobile field force officers for the recent NATO summit in Chicago," said Melissa Stratton, a spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department.

A Charlotte Police Department spokesperson confirmed that "roughly 50 officers from Chicago" were on duty at the convention.

On Monday morning, some of the Chicago officers were stationed near security screening posts where delegates enter the Charlotte Convention Center.

"I would love to know the logic behind that decision to send them there given all that is happening here in Chicago," the Rev. Ira Acree of the Greater St. John Bible Church in Chicago told ABC News on Monday.

"It's a state of emergency here in Chicago," Rev. Acree told the Wall Street Journal last week.

Chicago police union officials also questioned the use of officers in Charlotte.

"We had two homicides and dozens of shootings this weekend, and we're sending offices out of the city?" said Pat Camden, a spokesperson for the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police.  "I think the average person would shake his head over that."

Last Friday, Mayor Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy publicly asked for federal help in targeting neighborhoods that have been hit hardest by the city's wave of violence.

"The help comes in the form of additional agents to target guns, gangs and drugs," Superintendent McCarthy said at a news conference.

Chicago's homicide rate is about 31 percent higher than last year, with 346 reported killings as of Aug. 19, according to figures provided by the Chicago police.

Officials said the Chicago officers were sent to Charlotte to reciprocate for police sent by Charlotte to help during the recent NATO summit held in Chicago.

"They are there on their days off and were not pulled off the street," said Stratton.

She said the officers sent to Charlotte will be paid through a special federal grant of $50 million for convention security.

"No funds from the city of Chicago are involved," Stratton said.

"We had a very successful outcome at the NATO convention in Chicago," she said, praising the training of the officers to handle large gatherings.

There was no request for the Chicago officers to assist in security at the GOP convention last week in Tampa, Fla., Stratton added.

The police union has been critical of Mayor Emanuel, a prominent figure in the Democratic party and former White House chief of staff, for substantial reductions in the police budget.

"We've had about a thousand officers retire over the last two years and only about 200 have been hired to replace them," said Camden.

"We've had a collective failure of all institutions to address the violence and I don't give the president a pass either," Rev. Acree said.

A spokesperson for Charlotte Police Chief Rodney Monroe said, "Chief Monroe is grateful to have the assistance of these officers for this monumental event."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Convention Security: Charlotte Police in Tampa to Watch

Tom Pennington/Getty Images(TAMPA, Fla.) -- The Democratic National Convention in Charlotte is only a week away and because it follows the Republican National Convention so closely, Charlotte police are in Tampa this week observing and training.

Charlotte Police Chief Rodney Monroe told ABC News that he and 10 officers made the trip to the Republican convention to get a preview of the landscape of a national convention.

“We just wanted to come down and take a look at operations and just kind of get a feel for things and pretty much just get a head-start on it,” Monroe said.

The police departments have been sharing plans for months because the conventions come back-to-back. Charlotte police wanted to observe Tampa’s security perimeter around the convention center.

On Monday, Monroe visited and walked with Tampa police at a protest that began in Perry Harvey Sr. Park and ended with a march through downtown Tampa. With Tropical Storm Isaac passing in the Gulf of Mexico, police said the march drew about 300 people.

Charlotte is a more compact city, but Monroe said there will be greater security issues with the White House in town.

“When you’re hosting the convention with the sitting president, there are different challenges, there are specific protocols that go along with handling the president of the United States,” Monroe said.

Tampa police chief Jane Castor said she didn’t know if coordination was typical between cities hosting conventions but after knowing each other, they decided it could only help to communicate efforts.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bus Driver Saves Students from Gun-Wielding Seventh Grader

George Doyle/Stockbyte(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- A bus driver in North Carolina is being hailed as a hero after convincing a gun-wielding seventh grader to hand over his loaded weapon during a terrifying bus ride.

The 12-year-old boy tried to hijack the school bus to Washington so he could shoot government officials, witnesses told ABC News Charlotte affiliate WSOC-TV.

Driver Evans Okoduwa said Tuesday that while he was scared during Monday's incident, he knew that if he didn't get the child to drop his weapon he "could have been shot."

The student has not been identified because he's a minor. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools police say the suspect has been charged with eight counts of kidnapping and two counts of possession of a weapon on school grounds.

In addition to the gun the student held in his hand, police say he had also given a second gun to a fellow classmate.

"[The classmate] was asked to participate and didn't," said CMS Deputy Police Chief Randy Hagler.

Although witnesses on the bus claimed the boy wanted to be taken to Washington to attack government officials, police have declined to discuss a motive.  Okoduwa said that the student did not tell him what his intentions were.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio ´╗┐


Woman with Gun Enters Charlotte TV Station, Interrupts Newscast

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- A distraught woman walked into the lobby of a Charlotte, N.C. television station Tuesday, and when a security guard wouldn't let her further into the building, she pulled out a gun and put it to her head.

The employees of ABC's affiliate in Charlotte, WSOC-TV, evacuated the building, and the TV channel went black for a short period of time, interrupting the station's 5 p.m. newscast.

Police were called and a SWAT team surrounded the building, according to reports, and after a brief standoff, she was taken into custody.

Police later learned that the gun was not loaded.

The station was off the air for about an hour, and came back shortly after 6 p.m.

Police identified the woman as 51-year-old Wendy Naidas. She was taken to Carolinas Medical Center for evaluation.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio´╗┐

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