‘Surviving the Stop’ aims to change the narrative of police-black community relations

August 04
08:25 2016



At a place in time, where it seems like every day black men lose their lives during routine traffic stops, Winston-Salem native Bobby Kimbrough is looking to change that narrative by arming the African-American community with knowledge on how to deal with police.

After serving more than 30 years in law enforcement on local, state and federal levels,  Kimbrough has used his years of experience to write a handbook on how to deal with law enforcement, titled “Surviving the Stop.”

The book provides readers with valuable information that fosters an improved relationship between law enforcement and the community to ensure lives are not lost when the two cross paths during traffic stops, or even while walking down the street.

During an exclusive interview with The Chronicle last week, Kimbrough said he began working on the book over a year ago while watching news reports on the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year old African-American man who died while being transported by police officers to a jail in Baltimore.

It was then he began taking notes on the incident and the countless others that have occurred since.

Kimbrough mentioned that he decided to direct the book toward the African-American community, instead of law enforcement because police are already armed with knowledge and a skill set. He said, “Now is the time for our community to adopt a plan on how to deal with this issue. A thought-out plan is better than a reaction anytime.

“Every profession has its own language and culture,” he continued. “If you don’t know the language they’re speaking, you can speak out of turn, which in many cases can lead to altercations. That’s the main purpose of this book, to arm average citizens with a skill set and knowledge on how to handle these situations.”

While many believe complying with officers demands during a stop is giving up your right to freedom of speech, Kimbrough said that is not the message he is trying to send. He said, instead of getting into a altercation on the side of the road, go through the proper channels to handle the problem.

“I’m not saying dumb yourself down, or give up your rights. What I’m saying is change the atmosphere,” continued Kimbrough. “If you feel like your rights have been violated, there is a way to handle it.”

“The last thing you want to do is get in an altercation, because over 90 percent of the time they’re going to win.”

When compared to similar books that address the unwritten crime of “driving while black,” “Surviving the Stop” offers a unique perspective.  As an African-American who was raised in the heart of East Winston-Salem matched with his years of experience with the U.S. Department of Justice, Kimbrough understands the struggles of being a black man in America, and some of the struggles police officers face.

He mentioned on several occasions, even once while driving an undercover government issued vehicle, he has been pulled over by the police.

“I’ve been stopped plenty of times. When people see me driving, they don’t see a special agent working for the government. They see an African-American,” he continued. “But I also understand what the officer is dealing with as well.”

Kimbrough said everything noted in “Surviving the Stop” are things that he tells his seven sons, five of which currently drive. He said, “The real problem in this country is poverty. Not only do we have issues in our police department, we have issues in our schools, and in our work places. The real issue is the lack of resources.

“The police are not the problem; they are responding to the problem. Blacks are not the problem. It’s a systemic problem. If we are really going to make a difference, we must address all the issues that black communities across the country are facing.”

Since officially retiring from law enforcement late last month, Kimbrough has officially changed his title to author, life coach and motivational speaker. Since making the announcement on July 22, which happens to be his birthday, Kimbrough has been traveling the country discussing the book with various media outlets. As a retiree, Kimbrough said, he will continue to ensure the safety and well being of the people in the community, and “Surviving the Stop” is just one of the many ways he plans to do so.

“I still feel like I can change some lives, and that’s what I plan to do.” Kimbrough said.

“Surviving the Stop” is available for preorder at The book will be available for purchase nationwide on Tuesday, Aug. 16. For more information on the book, contact Denise Smith at or 888-239-4775.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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