Honors and accolades as Chief Thompson retires from WSPD

Chief Catrina Thompson officially retires on Dec. 31.

Honors and accolades as Chief Thompson retires from WSPD
December 23
19:26 2022

At the end of the month Chief Catrina Thompson will officially retire from the Winston-Salem Police Department (WSPD). Thompson, a native of Detroit who has spent her entire career with the WSPD, has been nominated by President Joe Biden to serve as U.S. Marshal for the Middle District of North Carolina. To show appreciation for her 28 years of service to the WSPD and the citizens of Winston-Salem, a special ceremony was held last week at the Benton Convention Center. 

Thompson was named chief following a national search to replace former chief Barry Rountree. She has served in the Patrol Division, Recruiting Unit, Training Division and the Criminal Investigations Division. She also served as one of the departmental commanders of the Crisis/Hostage Negotiation Team before she was named WSPD’s 15th chief in 2017. 

During her time as chief, Thompson led the WSPD through the re-accreditation process, expanded the WSPD’s presence on social media, and worked with the WS Police Foundation to build and deploy the Sweet Reads truck. She also leveraged technology to multiply the effectiveness of WSPD policing, created and secured funding for the Real Time Crime Center, and started High 5 Fridays, as well as a host of other programs and initiatives to address violent crime.  

During the retirement celebration, Mayor Allen Joines and other elected officials thanked Thompson for her service. Joines said Thompson is widely respected throughout the community and from the moment she joined the WSPD, she has been a public servant. He also praised Thompson for helping keep protests peaceful in 2020 following the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota by a police officer who kept his knee on Floyds neck for nearly 10 minutes. 

For more than 50 days in a row there were peaceful protests here in Winston-Salem. 

“She is certainly well respected by the community. As you might recall, during the Black Lives Matter Protest a couple of years ago, I think it was 52 days that we had protests or rallies or marches here in our city in a row and not one really serious incident of vandalism or violence and that’s because Chief Thompson did work before then to establish a relationship with these individuals,” Joines continued. 

“So on behalf of the city  and the 250,000 citizens… thank you so much. I personally thank you, Chief. You’ve been a great friend to me, you’ve helped when I’ve called on you, and the City of Winston-Salem is a much, much better place because of your work.” 

Mayor Pro Tempore and representative for the North Ward Denise Adams said part of being chief or any elected position is about improving community relationships and Thompson did that. Adams said long before Thompson was named chief, she knew she was the perfect fit for the position. She recalled an incident in 2009 when Chief Rountree was away at a conference and wasn’t available and Thompson stepped in. 

“We needed somebody to be the leader of the Winston-Salem Police Department for that time and I asked Mr. Garrity who’s next and he said what about Assistant Chief Catrina Thompson and I said that will work. She can handle this moment,” Adams said.

 “And she did that. At the moment I knew in my mind and heart that I knew that you would be our next police chief. On behalf of the City Council and all the citizens of Winston-Salem and all the different groups that represent our city with their different interests, we want to thank you.”

For her dedicated service to the citizens of Winston-Salem, during the event Sen. Paul Lowe presented Thompson with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the governor’s highest honor. 

“We have enjoyed the work of Chief Thompson for what she has contributed to Winston-Salem and for what she has contributed to North Carolina,” Lowe said. “And I certainly have appreciated her work and her friendship through the years.” 

Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough said he’s going to miss the relationship he has with Thompson. 

“I thank God for the relationship that we have had. I’m going to miss you. We’ve laughed together and we’ve even cried together during the day of Sept. 1; I’ll never forget that,” Kimbrough continued. “The steps of a good woman are ordered and if you keep following the voice you’re hearing, being the U.S. Marshal is just the beginning.” 

Shortly after announcing her retirement from the WSPD, Thompson said serving as chief of the WSPD is one of the greatest honors of her career. 

“Serving as Winston-Salem’s chief of police is one of the greatest honors of my public safety career,” Thompson said. “I will always love this agency and believe in its mission. My commitment to law enforcement will always be strong as I truly respect, appreciate and support this noble profession.” 

According to city officials, Raftelis Financial Consultants Inc., is leading the national search for the next police chief. More than 70 people have applied for the position and finalists are expected to participate in an open forum next month. 

About Author

Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors