Winston-Salem police chief announces retirement

Police chief, Catrina Thompson, plans to retire in December after serving the city of Winston-Salem for 29 years.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Winston-Salem’s chief of police since 2017, Catrina Thompson, announced Friday that she plans to retire in December. She’s served the city for 29 years. 

“Serving as Winston-Salem’s chief of police is one of the greatest honors to 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.” 

Thompson started her career as a police officer in January 1994. She was promoted to senior police officer in 1998, sergeant in 2003, lieutenant in 2006, captain in 2014, and assistant police chief in 2016. 

During her career she served in the Investigative Services Bureau, the Field Services Bureau, and the Support Services Bureau. She also served on the Crisis/Hostage Negotiation Team. 

“I am most certain that even greater days are ahead,” Thompson said. “The future of the WSPD remains bright because of the women and men that are committed to being the guardians of our city.” 

City Manager Lee Garrity said that Thompson’s steady leadership served the city well at a time when police-community relations across the nation have been strained. 

“Our city has been blessed to have a police chief who earned the trust of the citizens and allowed Winston-Salem to weather the sorts of incidents that can set police and community relations on edge,” Garrity said. “Our next police chief will have some big shoes to fill.”

Garrity said the city will retain an executive search firm to conduct a national search for the next police chief, in consultation with the mayor, members of the City Council, police employees and community leaders. 

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