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People in Winston-Salem share what they want from next police chief

The City of Winston-Salem expects to name a new police chief by the end of the month. It currently has four finalists.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Gun violence topped the list of concerns Thursday as Winston-Salem searches for its next police chief.

People showed up at St. Johns CME Church for a town hall as officials sought input on who should be selected to lead the Winston-Salem Police Department.

This conversation comes as the city is narrowing its list of candidates for chief. It also comes after a string of shootings over the last week.

The most recent case was a deadly shooting at Burke Street Pub Thursday. Another left a 12-year-old girl dead. Police are still searching for a suspect in that case.

Thursday, several people talked about the way gun violence affects their every day lives.

One of them was Pam Peoples-Joyner who works for the police department.

"When I went home (last week) there was a bullet hole in my bedroom window. I thought I was seeing things. A bullet in my carpet on the side of the bed where I get dressed and go to sleep every night," Peoples-Joyner said.

Patricia Caldwell lives in the Boston Thurmond neighborhood.

"In my neighborhood, we hit the floor last week. We have a house that's been shot five times. It's like the bullets are going right behind my house," Caldwell said.

Jerry Anderson runs the Do School, a nonprofit that teaches young men construction training.

"I hear guns going off at three and four in the morning, wake up the next day and see the results in the newspaper and on tv what the results of those guns are in our community," Anderson said.

Many talked about what they believe leads people to violence--factors like poverty, a lack of mental health resources and other factors. They also gave officials their thoughts on how the next chief could make improvements.

Pamela Phillips runs a group home for boys with mental health issues.

"Train police to be more trauma-focused when they;re dealing with mental health facilities," Phillips said.

Phillip Carter brought questions for officials to ask candidates.

"What are the experiences that this chief brings, What knowledge do they know of this city," Carter said. "And how do they plan to be innovative and productive in empowering the citizenry?"

City and police department leaders said they'll consider questions like that as this search continues.

The city said it will announce the top four candidates for the position tomorrow.

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