- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 28, 2018

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Police officers in North Carolina’s largest city are being warned a year ahead not to plan on vacations early in 2019 because of major basketball events.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Maj. Gerald Smith told WBTV in Charlotte that the department won’t be able to give vacations during February and March. Officers received an email saying there will be no vacations between Feb. 13-17 for NBA All-Star activities. There’s also no vacation between Feb. 26-March 2 for the CIAA men’s and woman’s tournaments.

Following the CIAA tournaments, Smith said single-day vacations will be restricted between March 5-10 because of the ACC men’s tournament.

“You have these three events back to back and that’s a large strain on the entire department,” Smith said, “but we also want to let them know - hey, don’t make any plans a year out for vacation during this time, don’t plan family vacations, don’t plan if you can help it - moving a wedding date if possible or anything possible so it doesn’t disturb their lives or disrupt their lives as much as possible.”

Mark Mihalec, president of the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, said he thinks the restrictions stem from a lack of officers, and he said restricting vacations will put a strain on officers.

“It’s going to strain all city employees, to be honest with you,” Michalec said. “Everybody is going to be stretched pretty thin and asked to do a few more and if the city has to do more with less it’s going to get to a breaking point after a while.”

WBTV reported that Charlotte-Mecklenburg police is allocated 1,978 officers. However, the department has 170 vacancies.

In addition to the 2019 basketball tournaments, Charlotte is preparing to bid on the 2020 Republican National Convention. It hosted the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

“During the DNC, we brought in resources from all over,” Smith said. “If our shortages were still short we would have to ask more departments to come in to help out.”


Information from: WBTV-TV, http://www.wbtv.com/

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