WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) – While Winston-Salem Police Chief Catrina Thompson often delegates investigations to officers who rank below her, she knows the responsibility of keeping the city and all the department’s employees safe ultimately falls on her shoulders.
The stressors accompanied with that duty aren’t easy to release, even when she’s off duty.
“As much as I try not to carry work home with me, it’s next to impossible,” Thompson said.
She deals with that stress in ways many people do and have for generations.
“I do stress eat,” Thompson said, laughingly. “And I joy eat.”
While she needs to meet the same requirements her officers do each year, this year, she hit a mark she doesn’t miss.
“The most that I’ve weighed was probably about three months ago, and I will tell you that it frightened me, because I was looking at me every day and didn’t realize it,” Thompson detailed.
As the chief has previously discussed, weight is something she’s struggled with all of her adult life. So, while she’s familiar with weight loss methods, she says she’s never taken them to a level of a lifestyle change.
“On my own, just because I have experience doing this, I have lost 26 pounds since the beginning of the year,” Thompson added.
Thompson said she knows many of her employees deal with similar stressors, both on the job and at home.
“Having children, period, is a challenge,” she said. “But it’s made especially challenging when you have a child who struggles to verbally communicate.”
The chief and her husband have two children; Christopher, 16, and Allison, 18.
“Christopher, as I’ve said many times, is 16 years old,” she said. “Big kid. And he has autism.”
Christopher was diagnosed with autism when he was 5 years old.
“He was frustrated because he couldn’t communicate his needs to us, and we were frustrated because we didn’t understand what his needs were,” she recalled.
While raising a child with special needs has been a challenge, she knows other people are in far more difficult situations.
“Despite how challenging it is for us in our world, I realize there are other parents out there who may not have the health insurance that we have,” Thompson explained.
Thompson added that, while weight is something that needs to be addressed on her journey to wellness, she’s also not getting enough sleep and doesn’t have a consistent workout regimen. She’s still actively seeking pathways that are available to other people – who may have fewer resources than she does – to assist her on that mission.
For, if she’s going to protect and serve to the best of her ability, she needs to be at her best.
“I’m a work in progress,” Thompson said. “But I do know that there’s help on the horizon.”