Sheriff Kimbrough, FCSO hold quarterly community forum

Sheriff Kimbrough, FCSO hold quarterly community forum
February 24
14:16 2021

After taking the oath of office in 2018, Forsyth County Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough promised to be transparent and keep open lines of communication with the public and to do so, he implemented quarterly community forums. Due to COVID restrictions, the first forum of 2021 was held virtually and more than 100 people tuned in as Kimbrough and his team addressed concerns about evictions, racism within the sheriff’s office, COVID-19 cases among inmates, and much more during the hourlong forum. 

The forum was broadcast live on the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page. The public had the opportunity to submit questions via email or in the Facebook comment section. 

One of the early concerns raised by the public was centered around the moratorium on evictions. Governor Roy Cooper extended the moratorium last month until March 1, but there are a few stipulations.

While the moratorium is in place, tenants must show why they’re unable to pay the full rent, show they’re trying to find employment, make an effort to obtain government assistance for housing, and once the stimulus check is received, it must be used for rent. Landlords still have the power to evict tenants for other reasons besides non-payment of rent and tenants are also responsible for accumulated back rent. 

Kimbrough said, while he has a soft spot for evictions, the sheriff’s office doesn’t have any power once a judge signs off on an eviction. “Once it goes through the process, I don’t have the authority and if I don’t do it, I’m in violation of the law,” Kimbrough continued. 

“I would love to stop evictions, but I don’t have the authority. If you recall when the pandemic first started, we stood in this same room and I said I opposed evictions. We made calls to Justice Beasley, who submitted an order that stopped it … that’s who has the power. We don’t have that authority here locally.”

As expected, the public also wanted to know what the FCSO is doing to combat racism and bigotry within the ranks. Kimbrough said he has a zero tolerance policy for racism and hatred of any kind. He said to stand there and say racism doesn’t exist would be a lie and law enforcement is not exempt. To combat the issue, the FCSO has also implemented yearly background checks for all sworn officers.

“We have a zero tolerance for that. If you experience it, you see it as it relates to the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, I want to know about it firsthand – send an email directly to me,” Kimbrough said.

 “We have instituted a policy that we will do background checks every year. And that is not to snoop in anybody’s business, it’s because we owe you that accountability … we owe the public that accountability.”

The public also asked about the number of COVID-19 cases among inmates in the Forsyth County Detention Center. According to Maj. Chris Carlton, there are three active cases, two inmates and one staff member. Carlton, who is in charge of the detention center, said 80% of his time is spent dealing with issues centered around COVID-19 and keeping it out.

Carlton also mentioned that they haven’t had any deaths due the virus and no one has had to be hospitalized. 

“The cases we’re seeing now are coming from new arrests,” Carlton said. “We quarantine those folks for 14 days, they’re tested after five days, and they’re isolated for the remainder of the 14 days. We are mass-testing our employees twice a week, probably through the end of March or until they’re all vaccinated. And our residents will restart mass-testing this week.”

Before wrapping up the forum, Sheriff Kimbrough gave an update on some of the new programs and initiatives that have been implemented since he took office. Kimbrough was later asked after a tough year, if he regrets taking the reins of the FCSO.

Kimbrough said, “I am glad I ran because all the things that Bobby is, I got it right here in this county – this county has made Bobby. I’m grateful to be back home. I’m grateful that the people gave me an opportunity to serve. There has been some difficult days … but at the end of the day, I’m grateful that the people gave me this opportunity. I want to be better, I want this community to be better, because I know what we were and I know where we are now.”

The quarterly forum can be viewed by visiting the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page and clicking on the “videos” tab.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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