Shock and awe: Forsyth County elects its first black sheriff

Shock and awe: Forsyth County elects its first black sheriff
November 07
05:00 2018

Incumbent Sheriff Bill Schatzman was seeking his fifth term as Forsyth County Sheriff this election season. Following a decisive victory in the Democratic Primary, challenger Bobby Kimbrough carried that momentum to a victory over Schatzman in the midterm election Tuesday night.

In an intimate setting surrounded by family and friends, Kimbrough held his Watch Party at the Carolina Ale House.  As the crowd eagerly watched every poll update, you could feel the excitement in the room as he inched closer to this ultimate goal. 

When the race was finally called in his favor, the room lit up and Kimbrough was finally able to exhale. 

“It has been a long journey and I have learned a lot on the journey, meeting a lot of good people along the way,” said Kimbrough. 

Kimbrough recalled an interaction with a high school student from Mt. Tabor High School who would be voting for the first time. He saw the young man defending him on social media, which he says gave him extra motivation.

“It touched me that I had made such an impact on an 18-year-old kid and first-time voter.  I was amazed by that and it has also been a learning experience as well as a strengthening experience, because from that I realized that the county is somewhat divided, but also one of the greatest counties on the planet.”

With that division present, Kimbrough said it is of the utmost importance to “build bridges” and have everyone sit at the table to discuss how to make Forsyth County a better and safer county for all.

Kimbrough won by nearly 9,000 votes, with 100 of 101 precincts reported at the time of this article.  He said that shows that people are not just voting according to party affiliation, but are voting for their best interests.

“I saw people crossing party lines, I saw people telling me and giving me words of encouragement and that meant a lot to me,” he said.  “Many times I realized I didn’t have the budget he had, I realized I didn’t have the incumbency he had, but we were determined that we were not going to let anyone out work us.  They may out spend us, but they wouldn’t out work us.”

According to Kimbrough, one of the first things on his agenda as the new Sheriff of Forsyth County is to sit down with leaders of Forsyth County, such as the police chiefs of Winston-Salem and Kernersville to gauge their expectations of him and his department.

“I want to see how we can improve our relationships, see how can we set forth the city/county narcotics unit, how can we build bridges and how can we serve all of the citizens of this county better,” he continued.

As the first African-American sheriff Forsyth County has elected, Kimbrough gave thanks to those African-Americans who have dared to run before him, which gave him the strength to run.

“When we talk about being the first African-American sheriff, I am humbled by that experience, but I am more humbled of the fact that the people, regardless of race, color or creed, came out to support me overwhemingly,” said Kimbrough.

Kimbrough says his experience in law enforcement on the local and federal levels will serve him well in his new position.  He feels that gives him a “better point of view” versus only serving in one location.

Kimbrough also gave thanks to Schatzman for his service as Forsyth County Sheriff for the past four terms.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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