Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office holds Quarterly Community Forum

More than two dozen concerned citizens attended the second Quarterly Community Forum hosted by the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Department on Monday, July 23.

Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office holds Quarterly Community Forum
July 25
00:03 2019

Sheriff Kimbrough spends birthday addressing concerns of ICE, HB 370

While most people celebrate their birthdays with cake and ice cream, Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough spent his 58th birthday addressing questions and concerns from citizens during the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) Quarterly Community Forum on Monday, July 22.

After taking the oath of office last December, Kimbrough promised to keep open lines of communication with the public and to be transparent. And with the newly implemented Quarterly Community Forums, one can argue that Kimbrough has made the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office more transparent than ever.

During the quarterly forums, Sheriff Kimbrough opens up by letting high-ranking members of the FCSO introduce themselves. He then lets the public know about new programs and initiatives and future plans before taking questions from the crowd.

Kimbrough said when he first announced the launch of the quarterly forums, several people in “political circles” told him he was crazy. His response was if he’s doing the job to the best of his ability, then there’s nothing to hide.

“I think when people talk about things, that’s where the magic takes place. When people can sit and have dialogue, even though we may have different beliefs, when we can sit and talk, we come to a workable solution,” he continued. “Because you have the right to put me to task, you have the right to ask me the questions you asked. People have the right to do that and I expect that and I want that.”

As expected, most of the questions during the forum on Monday night were about ICE (Immigration Customs Enforcement) and House Bill (HB) 370, a bill that would force N.C. sheriffs to cooperate with ICE and hold jail inmates who are in the country illegally.

Although the HB 370 has been approved by votes in the N.C. House and Senate, Governor Roy Cooper is expected to veto the bill. Cooper has been on record calling the bill unconstitutional.

One concerned citizen who supports HB 370 said she was upset with Kimbrough’s stance on the ICE-Forsyth County jail agreement. Since taking office last year, Kimbrough has not honored I-203 forms, a request to law enforcement from ICE for detainment of immigrants.

The citizen said, “I feel like canceling that contract, you’re favoring a group of criminals over my rights and threatening my safety and putting me at risk. My question to you is, if Governor Cooper’s veto is overruled, are you going to comply with that law?”

Kimbrough said, “Of course. As I’ve said before, I’m always going to do what’s right, what’s moral and what’s legal. If it becomes law, I have no choice but to honor it.”

When it came to safety, Kimbrough reminded the citizen that he was born and raised in Forsyth County. He said, “To think that I would not make sure that you are safe, basically to me doesn’t make good sense.”

Kimbrough went on to explain that when they arrest an illegal immigrant for example, on something like a traffic stop, they notify ICE, but if they make bond for the traffic violation before ICE officials arrive, by law they are free to go. N.C. State Statute 162-62 says legally, sheriffs only have to notify ICE that an inmate’s immigration status is in question, but they don’t have to hold them.

Kimbrough said without legal documentation, he has to let that person go.

“If you want me to hold someone after they’ve made bond, all I’m saying is bring me a document that is legal. A detainer or I-203 is a request,” said Kimbrough. “Many sheriff’s offices have been sued for not releasing that person once they have made bond. That is violating someone’s rights.”

Following the forum, Kimbrough and other members of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office stuck around to talk and answer questions. The next quarterly forum is expected to be held in the fall. The location and exact date has not yet been announced.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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