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'Obviously, some changes have to be made' | CMPD vows to address Panthers staffing concerns

Radio traffic identified calls placed on hold during the first Panthers game. The Fraternal Order of Police said three divisions were understaffed on that day.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department's decision to pull on-duty officers from other parts of the city to work traffic and security at Bank of America Stadium continues to receive attention.

During Wednesday's weekly press conference, CMPD reaffirmed its commitment to finding a long-term solution that properly protects both fans and Charlotte as a whole.

"Obviously, some changes have to be made," CMPD Public Information Officer Thomas Hildebrand said in response to a reporter's question. "We're looking into what that is. We're not ready to put that out there yet, but it's important that we do have to manage incidents in Uptown around the stadium and also out in the community."

The agency's latest response comes after the Fraternal Order of Police told WCNC Charlotte three patrol divisions were understaffed during the first Carolina Panthers game. CMPD later confirmed the department reassigned 54 on-duty officers to in and around the stadium during that game. 

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Radio traffic identified police responses on hold for domestic violence physical assault, residential breaking and entering and hit-and-run calls during that game not long before understaffed divisions started their shifts.

Since WCNC Charlotte uncovered the department's reliance on on-duty and off-duty police to work traffic and security at BOA stadium, CMPD's maintained the city has not experienced slower response times for the highest-priority calls, even though parts of the city were left with less police protection.

RELATED: CMPD, CFD pulling on-duty police and firefighters away from areas to cover Panthers games

Officer Hildebrand promised the agency takes its staffing responsibility seriously.

"We're very careful in making sure that everything is staffed and we're properly taking care of our responsibilities as officers," he said.

In a recent video, Chief Johnny Jennings revealed a management team is looking into alternatives to strike the right balance. He said that team includes members of CMPD, the Charlotte Fire Department, Charlotte Department of Transportation and other city leaders.

As WCNC Charlotte reported Sunday, CFD has also pulled on-duty firefighters away from stations to cover the stadium. In fact, CFD reassigned 16 on-duty firefighters from three stations for the first Panthers game, taking several trucks out of service, according to the Charlotte Firefighters Association.

Contact Nate Morabito at nmorabito@wcnc.com and follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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