Chief Johnny Jennings oversees the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD,) the largest law enforcement agency in Mecklenburg County and the largest police department between Washington, D.C. and Atlanta. We caught up with Chief Jennings for this month's Fast Five.
Which part of the organization do you lead?
I serve as the chief of police for CMPD after serving more than 30 years in the organization. I have held a variety of positions and ranks throughout the organization including sergeant over criminal intelligence, patrol sergeant and captain over the North Tryon Division, major over intelligence, investigations, special operations, Office of Professional Responsibility and deputy chief over patrol, special services, administrative services and the support services groups including the Community Services Bureau.
Some noteworthy career achievements include the following:
Developed the country's first customer experience program for a law enforcement agency that includes a strategic approach as well as a curriculum around ways to improve audience engagement.
Developed and implemented the CMPD's paid college internship program to assist with recruitment and retention.
Led planning and operations for major events such as the NBA All-Star game in 2019 and Billy Graham's funeral in 2018.
Led intelligence and coordination efforts with federal, regional, state and local partners for the Democratic National Convention in 2012.
Crime Reduction Award recipient.
Why did you decide to work for the City of Charlotte?
While I was in college, I majored in criminal justice, and I wanted to be a postal inspector. I found out how difficult it was to get into the postal business, having to work one year in a post office before applying to be a postal inspector. So, a friend of mine talked me into applying and becoming a police officer. At the time, I didn't want to be a cop, but I applied anyway. The more I looked into it, the more interested I became. I realized there was more to policing than just chasing bad guys. About six years in, I realized I wanted to do this career long term. It was a calling for me as I became more acclimated to being a police officer.
What is the biggest organizational priority you're working on right now?
My top two priorities are focusing on reducing violent crime and recruitment while infusing the customer service training into everything that we do.
What is your favorite part about working for the City of Charlotte?
Charlotte is a big city with a small-town feel. The strength of the leadership within the city is something I admire. The partnership with city council is extremely important to me as we work hard to provide the best technology, equipment and training for our employees to be effective and efficient. I love working for the best police department in the country!
What is your favorite restaurant in Charlotte?
This is a tough one, but if I had to narrow it down, I would go with BBQ and select Noble Smoke! I love the beef brisket, collard greens and the mac n' cheese. This meal is unrivaled in Charlotte!