As a community newspaper, The Chronicle is used to, and proudly so, being a sounding board for our readers. And few topics get them talking more than the Winston-Salem Police Department.
Readers frequently voice questions, concerns and complaints about Department policies regarding traffic stops, neighborhood policing and arrests. For various reasons, including the fact that folks in uniforms intimidate many people of color, these concerns are never brought to the attention of WSPD leaders. Police Chief Scott Cunningham wants to change that. He approached The Chronicle about starting a public forum where local residents can ask questions, address concerns and even praise the Department.
The Chief will write regular columns for the paper. In them, he wants to answer your questions and concerns, which can be submitted to The Chronicle via email, its web site(wschronicle.com) or letters (617 N. Liberty St., W-S, NC 27101). Inquires can also be dropped off at the office.
This column is the latest of many initiatives launched by Chief Cunningham to try to close the gulf that has longed existed between minorities and the police department. Cunningham’s desire to run his Department completely above-board and address issues directly and head-on is refreshing. With his forwardness, the community does not have to guess where the buck stops.
Welcome to a new way to learn about the Winston-Salem Police Department, and to get answers to many of your questions.
As Chief of Police, I am pleased to enter into this collaborative arrangement with the Winston-Salem Chronicle. This column will appear periodically and it will provide information about the Winston-Salem Police Department (WSPD) and various activities. It will also provide answers to questions that citizens submit to The Chronicle. It is my intention to provide enhanced information to the community, and your questions will help. Many people have similar questions about the police, so answering them publicly will help all of us.
The role of the WSPD is ‘to protect and serve’ the community. There is a lot of misinformation and misperception that exists, and it hinders the police-community relationship. Hopefully, this column will provide an avenue of increased information flow and enhanced trust. The men and women of the WSPD are dedicated professionals who want to improve the quality of life for everyone. By answering as many questions as possible, we hope to work together and make Winston-Salem an even greater place to live, work, and enjoy life. I look forward to your questions.
Scott Cunningham became the chief of the WSPD in June 2008. A police veteran of more than 25 years, he previously led the Cary Police Department.