WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — In December, Winston-Salem Police Chief Catrina Thompson will walk through the doors of the downtown police station for the last time as chief and exit into a world she hopes is better than when she first put on the badge.
Thompson joined the WSPD in 1994 and was promoted to its chief role in 2017 where she has been ever since.
In July of 2022, the chief announced that she would retire at the end of the year, a decision that was not made lightly.
“I have done almost 30 years in the agency,” she said. “I’m not leaving in the middle of my career. This was the time in which I was set to leave. If I felt as if our department was in turmoil, or there were still protest or problems at the time, I certainly wouldn’t leave.”
During her time as chief, the department earned CALEA accreditations and added a real-time crime center, which is one of her proudest accomplishments.
“We have the technology in place to be able to help us with responding more efficiently with responding to crimes in our city, but we’re also able to prevent them because we can see a lot more in our city,” she said.
As Thompson looks to leave, there are still problems left unsolved such as more than a hundred open positions within the department and a rise in violent crime, many of which involved young people.
When asked if the situation has changed, Chief Thompson said that there is still a lot of work to be done.
“We have many things in place that aren’t whole,…that it creates this powder keg…you have children still going through the day hungry. I think we need to understand why and how we work together as a community to change that. Even if we add one year of life, we have made a huge impact,” she said.
It is unknown who will take over as chief and when that transition will happen.
Thompson explained that she hopes they engage and listen to the community, while the community also gives them a chance to earn their trust.