After months of advocating for less funding for the police, the abolition of cash bail, and more affordable housing during the City Council’s public comments period, FCPARC (Forsyth County Police Reallocation Coalition) was finally invited to speak before the Public Safety Committee on Monday night. After months of being ignored, local activists presented the Public Safety Committee with clear but radical solutions that, if implemented, would make Winston a safer and better community “to live, work, and play.”
Unfortunately, the Public Safety Committee gave FCPARC’s proposals a rather cool reception. The only subject of tentative agreement between activists and Councilmembers was the need for better mental health service in the city. Chairman Taylor invited FCPARC to speak to the Public Safety Committee again next month. So over the next month, it’s important that you first educated yourself on this issue. Then call and email your Councilmember and tell them that you want 10 percent of WSPD’s budget reallocated to non-police emergency responders and social programs instead of the prison pipeline.
“I think the real question that I am grappling with is the responsibility for Public Health residing within the County and our police force which patrols within the city boundaries themselves and how we would orchestrate a coordinated effort to address this problem. I am not sure that we can relegate it entirely to mental health experts to respond to every call that appears to have mental health aspects to it, without a police backup at least.” -Councilmember, John Larson
“A couple of years ago, I think I would have been in the exact same spot as these folks who are asking us to defund the police. But in 2018, I started working with Leadership Winston-Salem part-time. I got to know so many members of the police department. I got to know Chief Katrina Thompson very well. I had no idea at that point and time that I would be running for public office. I was so impressed with our local police and I continue to be impressed with the Winston-Salem Police Department. And the little bit that I know about our Sheriff’s Office.
I think that you folks are somewhat painting our local law enforcement officers with a very broad brush. I think there is a lot of anger over the way people have been treated across the United States. And I can assure you I share that anger.
But what I don’t want us to do as a Council, what I don’t want us to do as a community is demonize our men and women in blue who work so hard to be fair, to serve and protect on a daily basis when they face the odds of being killed every day when they go to work. I think that there’s been a very, a very large lack of respect for the work that they do. That doesn’t mean that we can’t make changes. And again some of the items that you are bringing to the table-they need to be implemented. I want to give you credit for that. But, at the same time, I want to commend our local law enforcement for the job that they do every day. And whatever we do we need to take them into consideration as we make decisions.” -Councilmember Jeff Munday
Today, January 9, 2021, is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. I would like to say THANK YOU to the women and men…
“We have not painted any law enforcement agency with any brush here in this meeting tonight. We presented demands that we have to try to make the city safer. So there is certainly not any painting anyone with a broad brush. But I do think it is important for us to understand the system of policing and that data show us that we cannot argue with data, that policing is a dangerous institution for Black, brown, and queer people. And so it’s really important for us to make sure that we understand that. I definitely recognize that people’s lives are on the line when they go to work. And we should also recognize that Black and brown and queer people’s lives are on the line every day when they engage with law enforcement across the country, including in the City of Winston-Salem, including myself this summer during the protests.” -Dr. Brittany Battle
Here’s A Parting Video That Demonstrates The Intellectual Bankruptcy Of The WSPD