WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — One by one, members of the Winston-Salem Police Academy filed into their graduation ceremony Thursday.
The men and women are entering a career on the front lines of soaring street violence. The most recent being Monday’s shooting at Hanes Park.
Kolby Hines is not letting the violence the city is facing, or the scrutiny officers are under, stop him from following his dreams. But he admits it’s on his mind.
“I’ll be lying if I say it didn’t weigh on me. As soon as Monday comes around, it’s very real consequences that can come if I don’t do my job to the level that’s expected from both myself and from the community at large so it’s a weight, but one that I willingly shoulder. One that me and the other recruits in this class are ready to take on,” Hines said.
Police Chief Catrina Thompson had tears rolling out of her eyes while speaking about the difficulties of getting people to do the job and fill their 68 openings.
“There’s not a lot of people breaking the door down to become a police officer in our agency or any other agency. We’re dealing with a lack of interest in the profession. We’re dealing with some negative publicity about the profession,” she said.
That’s what Hines wants to change.
“I think the thing that is most important to new recruits is wanting to be that change that they want to see in their community. There’s things that I have seen that I don’t approve of, but I myself, and all the other recruits here want to be the police we want to see out on the streets,” Hines said.
Hines’ mother, Denise Hines, swore in the class of recruits and sent them off to serve with these words.
“I think serving your community is one of the greatest things that you can do as a citizen of the U.S. So, I don’t have any hesitancy. Life is unpredictable. Live it and contribute the best you can. Don’t look at the negative. Just try to make the best out of whatever you can give back to the community,” she said.
FOX8 checked with other local departments to see how many officers they need. The Greensboro Police Department is looking for 40. High Point police have 27 positions they are looking to fill.