A Latino Initiative program dedicated to law enforcement was inspired by Chief Kerr Putney of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD). Putney was a Latino Initiative – 2014 program delegate among other community leaders from Mecklenburg and Union counties while he was in the role of Deputy Chief of the Investigative Services Group. His experience in Mexico with Go Global NC made a positive, learning impact on him; and when he became Chief of CMPD, he wanted to extend the experience to his officers.

The Latino Initiative – Law Enforcement 2016 program began by selecting 24 officers from the police departments in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Davidson, Huntersville, Mint Hill, Monroe and Pineville and from the sheriff’s offices in Mecklenburg and Union counties. During their seven-day program, they experienced cosmopolitan Mexico City, the rural community of San Nicolás del Carmen, a correctional facility focused on rehabilitation in San Miguel de Allende and the technologically-advanced C5i surveillance center. The program inspired officers to eagerly apply what they learned into the North Carolina communities they serve. Examples include:

“Cops & Kids”
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department adopted a program called “Cops & Kids,” in which police officers learn Spanish from Latino teenagers and children. Officers Steve Bannan, Marty Baucom, Bryan Miller, and their coworkers reached out to Latino youth and their families and church congregations to host the program. Officer Bannan said the program started with 11-12 kids and has increased to over 100 youth in attendance. Cops & Kids is now on its fourth 12-week run. Fellow Latino Initiative – Law Enforcement 2016 delegates Sargent Michelle Archer and Officer Brian Shepherd of the Matthews Police Department are now working to adapt the program for their community.

New Officer Training
When new officers join the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, they are taught about engaging with the Latino community during introductory training. The Latino Initiative – Law Enforcement alumni share the practices they have implemented to positively influence their police work as a result of their Go Global NC experience

Peer Education
Latino Initiative – Law Enforcement 2016 alumni Chief Deputy Rodney Collins committed to sharing information with and helping educate fellow officers as one of his post-program goals. Collins and Captain Daniel Stitt of the Mecklenburg Sheriff’s Department presented at the follow-up workshop to share and discuss how Charlotte manages “287(g)” – the process of sheriff’s deputies identifying undocumented immigrants or immigrants who have violated their immigration requirements when individuals are arrested.

These examples are just the beginning of strong efforts being put forth by many of the 2016 delegates, who are welcoming the 2017 delegates to the Latino Initiative – Law Enforcement alumni network. With the shared goals of communication and transparency, there will surely be more and more efforts to positively affect officers’ communities.

Revisit the Latino Initiative – Law Enforcement 2016 program.
Watch a 2016 video with officers Bannan and Baucom demonstrating the CMPD Cops and Kids Program in the video below.