Retiring Chief Stephens: Police Only “Second Line Of Defense”


“We arrest the same people time and time again. If we could arrest our way out of the crime problem, we would have done it already,” Charlotte Police Chief Darrel Stephens tells the Charlotte Observer. “The reality is, we present the rest of the criminal justice system with workloads that exceed their capacity to accommodate.” Stephens, who is retiring June 1, says the police are only the “second line of defense.” The first, he says, is “people who do their part to minimize risks, watch out for each other and alert us to suspicious activity. The other elements required include expanding jail space, adding resources for the District Attorney and the courts, resources for probation and parole to effectively monitor offenders and a responsible media that puts crime in context.

Most violent crime is not random and many property crimes can be prevented, Stephens says. Most burglars don’t want to break into occupied homes. “Home invasions” involve specific residences being targeted because the suspects know that the residents inside have something they want–usually drug dealers having drugs or drug money inside their homes.


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