How to Become a Police Officer in Charlotte

Charlotte, located in Mecklenburg County, is the largest city in North Carolina and the 17th-largest city in the US. Charlotte has a population of over 790,000.1 The city is surrounded by natural beauty with many parks, gardens, and greenways. Charlotte has a low cost of living when compared to the rest of the US (6% lower).3 Potential law enforcement officers will find that Charlotte is a great place to start a promising career.

Individuals hoping to become a part of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department should continue reading for the application, selection, and training process.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Requirements

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) is the largest police department in Mecklenberg County.4 The Department employs 1,849 sworn officers and 452 civilians.4

To become a CMPD police officer, candidates must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Be a US citizen
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Possess or meet the qualifications to obtain a North Carolina driver’s license
  • Have no felony or serious misdemeanor convictions
  • Have no DUIs/DWIs within the past five years
  • Not have been dishonorably discharged from the military
  • Have normal color visual and visual acuity of 20/30 (corrected)
  • Not have been dishonorably discharged from the military
  • Reside in North or South Carolina within 45 miles of the police headquarters

Candidates will have to pass a drug screen and background investigation. All potential CMPD cops must pass written and physical ability tests and a psychological, a polygraph, and a medical examination. Over half of their employees hold a bachelor’s degree and about 70% have some college experience.4 The CMPD encourages all applicants to have at least an associate degree.

For more recruitment information, visit the: CMPD Recruitment page.

For additional information about how to become a cop in a city like Charlotte, see 10 Steps to Becoming a Police Officer on our home page.

Chief Kerr Putney was sworn in as Chief of Police in June 2015. He has been with CMPD for 23 years. Chief Putney has a Bachelor of Science in criminology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a master’s in criminology from East Carolina University. He also attended the 217th Session of the FBI National Academy and the 42nd Session of the Senior Management Institute for Police in 2009.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Information

The CMPD has four main service areas: investigative services, field services, support services and administrative services. The Department has 13 patrol divisions under Field Services North and Field Services South. CMPD has several units that cops can work in, some of which include:

  • Arson and bomb unit
  • Domestic violence unit
  • Financial crimes unit
  • Homicide unit
  • Robbery unit
  • SWAT team
  • Youth crimes unit

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Training Academy

Police recruits must attend basic training at the CMPD Training Academy in Charlotte. The 22-week Academy consists of 903 hours of training. Some of the topics that law enforcement recruits will be exposed to include:

  • Accident investigation
  • Cultural diversity
  • Crime prevention
  • Driver’s training
  • Hazardous materials
  • Juvenile Law
  • Patrol Techniques
  • Traffic Enforcement

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Salary and Jobs Outlook

About 4,780 cops were employed in the Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill metropolitan area.2 The annual average salary for police officers in the area is $48,150.2 The number of law enforcement officers in North Carolina is projected to increase by 6.4% between now and 2022, with about 730 average job openings per year.5 With the number of new jobs for police officers increasing, Charlotte would be a great place for an aspiring cop to start a career. Candidates should note that employment for police officers is tied to local budgets and the number of police officer retirements.

For more information on current CMPD cop positions, take a look at our jobs board page.

More Information on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and Crime

The CMPD adopted the Neighborhoods Watch program to increase community involvement in public safety. There are about 260 active neighborhood watch groups in Mecklenburg County.6 The CMPD has a Police Explorers program for youth in the county. This program introduces youth to law enforcement and training. Explorers can receive an elective credit for high school for participating in the program.

The CMPD also holds a Citizens Academy for residents of Mecklenburg County over 18 years of age. The Academy exists so that citizens can learn more about the operation of the Police Department and to increase community involvement. All required courses are offered twice per year. Citizens must complete all courses within two years in order to graduate.

Interested citizens and future cops should participate in the Department’s Ride-Along Program to gain a better perspective of what it takes to be a police officer. All participants must be 18 years of age. To apply, click here.

Contact Information

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Charlotte-Mecklenburg-Police-Department/124757580932140?ref=hl
Twitter: @CMPD_newsroom

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Headquarters
601 E Trade St
Charlotte, NC 28202

Additional Resources

1. US Census Bureau, Charlotte, North Carolina: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/charlottecitynorthcarolina,US/PST045217
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Charlotte, NC: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_16740.htm
3. Sperling’s Best Places, Charlotte, North Carolina: https://www.bestplaces.net/cost_of_living/city/north_carolina/charlotte
4. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department: http://charlottenc.gov/cmpd/Pages/default.aspx
5. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
6. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Neighborhood Watch Program: http://charlottenc.gov/CMPD/Safety/Pages/Community-Programs.aspx