Forsyth County sheriff, Winston-Salem police chief address death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Local sheriffs and police chiefs worry about the trust issues people will have with their officers after what happened in Minnesota.

These leaders expressed anger and frustration over the officer’s actions and reassured the community of the biased-based training local law enforcement is given.

For Winston-Salem Police Chief Catrina Thompson and Forsyth County Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough, the death of George Floyd hit them personally and professionally.

Now they’re working to regain trust and repeat their belief in transparency. The conversations they are having are also happening in homes.

So how do we process images and videos of people being killed on social media and TV?

“People seeing images, the same images, over and over and over, that’s also going to have a psychological effect on the individual,” said Andy Hagler, with the Mental Health Association in Forsyth County.

This video is what triggered so much emotion from many Americans including the people out protecting the public every day.

For Kimbrough, the interaction between Floyd and officers makes him reflect on his sons.

He admits he’s had to have conversations with them about what to do differently as a black man when an officer stops them.

“Dead men tell no lies. They don’t tell no stories. They say nothing. What I want you to do is survive that stop,” Kimbrough said.

So how do people go about understanding the trauma so many Americans are feeling right now?

“Trauma is of coarse, seeing things that are catastrophic. But trauma is also in the eye of the beholder,” Hagler said. “So, incidents or situations that might be traumatic for me, may not be traumatic for you and vice versa.”

Hagler said it comes down to having tough conversations with people inside and outside of your circle.

“Taking these situations and creating community dialogue, community conversations, having open and honest discussions,” Hagler said.

The police chief and sheriff both stated how officers handled things in Minneapolis would not be tolerated here.

“We teach and require that our employees, both sworn and non-sworn, treat people with respect dignity and compassion. That is the expectation,” Thompson said.

Kimbrough said his deputies were in a training course on Friday.

“We have ongoing training. While we are sitting here right now, there’s a classroom upstairs going through training right now,” he said.

Kimbrough believes his office has created community credibility within the Winston-Salem community.

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