Catrina Thompson, Winston-Salem's police chief since 2017, plans to retire in December. 

Thompson was chosen to replace former chief Barry Rountree, taking over a department that then had almost 750 employees and a budget of $74 million.

Her tenure included dealing with COVID shutdowns and demonstrations in city streets following the 2020 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The department's restrained response to the protests was widely praised.

She also had to address a surge in gun violence that included a fatal shooting at Mount Tabor High School last year. During a news conference in the wake of the homicide, Thompson made an emotional statement directly to students:

“What you experienced yesterday at Mount Tabor no one should experience at all, ever, in their lives,” she said. “I can only imagine how traumatic that experience could have been. And I want you to know that it is okay not to be okay today.”

Thompson is a native of Detroit and earned her bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Wayne State University, and a master's in public administration from Appalachian State University. She started in the department as a police officer in 1994.

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