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If you think working the majority of your career with a single employer sounds incredibly boring – or like something only your grandparents did – think again.

When you join Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department as a new or lateral police recruit, you’re not only saying “yes” to a job with purpose. You’re also opening the door to near-limitless opportunities to grow and thrive in a progressive police department and a dynamic, fast-growing city.

CMPD is the largest metropolitan police department between Atlanta and Washington, D.C., and with more than 30 specialized units, it offers dozens of ways to advance, stay energized and take on new challenges from the academy to retirement.

In fact, as a CMPD officer, you can choose to work in a variety of specialized units during your career. You’ll get the best of both worlds: the stability of staying with a trusted employer, and the ability to keep your career fresh by switching to a new position every few years.

After gaining two to three years of critical experience on patrol, many officers look to transfer to some of CMPD’s most in-demand specialized units, including:

Aviation Unit

The CMPD Aviation Unit’s primary mission is to provide aerial support to officers through the use of time-proven methods and state-of-the-art technology.

The​ presence of the helicopter on a scene in most cases 1) pins down the suspect and 2) produces a psychological effect that reduces the chances of the suspect resisting arrest or fighting with an officer on the ground – both of which dramatically improve officer safety.

Bomb Unit

The Bomb Unit’s goal is to protect the Charlotte community from harm and safely, quickly resolve bomb threats, suspicious package concerns and threats from hazardous devices. It also aims to minimize damage to critical infrastructure and property.

This team works with major equipment including a robot, a total containment vessel and a state-of-the-art bomb response vehicle, which is equipped with conventional bomb disposal equipment, the robot, bomb suits, X-ray equipment and hazardous material response gear.

K9 Unit

CMPD’s K9 Unit is a specialized group of law enforcement officers who use service dogs to perform the responsibilities of general police officers.

The unit also carries out more specific jobs led by the police dog. Those tasks include detecting illegal substances, chemicals or explosives; identifying people who were in contact with such illicit substances; tracking and rescuing kidnapped or missing persons; and locating buried or submerged bodies or human parts.

Lake Enforcement

CMPD’s Lakes Enforcement Unit was developed in the early 1980s in response to rapid development and increased recreational use of the lakes on the western border of Mecklenburg County.

This unit is a year-round, full-time enforcement division charged with boater safety, education and enforcement of the navigational laws of the State of North Carolina, as well as local ordinances and federal laws that apply to inland waters.

All Officers are EMT-certified, and the unit is equipped with a defibrillator and all emergency support equipment. Officers use the latest technology to serve the Lake Norman and Mountain Island Lake communities and respond to all medical emergencies on the water.


The mission of CMPD’s Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) is to preserve life in high-risk situations through the use of specialized training, equipment and tactics. This mission is carried out in a professional manner that inspires confidence in the community, and all operations are conducted with the highest regard for the preservation of life.

The SWAT team comprises various specialized groups that focus on specific tactics. The team is separated into three units by function: tactical unit, crisis negotiators and medics.

Accelerate your career here 

Ready to join the men and women of CMPD? Start your new trainee, lateral entry or intermediate entry application today.