WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — On Monday, Winston-Salem Police Chief Catrina Thompson said she was made aware of a video showing a stuffed monkey riding in the backseat of a Winston Salem patrol car. Some citizens deemed the action offensive.
In a two and a half page news release, Thompson explained the monkey was actually placed on the front bracket of the protective shield along with a stuffed bear and not in the backseat.
She then went on to explain the reason for the stuffed animal being in the patrol car in the first place.
"The Winston-Salem Police Department has equipped all of our Patrol Cars with stuffed animals for over 20 years. The stuffed animals are regularly donated to the WSPD by various organizations and individuals for the primary purpose of calming children that have been traumatized by violent acts, vehicle crashes, fires, or any other type of trauma that may have occurred to a child."
Thompson also made it clear that in the future they will take more precautions over the stuff animals they receive.
"In the future, we will confirm our stuffed animals are not offensive. I apologize to any community member that found this circumstance to be offensive. As with all matters of concern to the public regarding the WSPD, I take this matter very seriously."
"I have a specific Departmental Policy against Bias Based Policing, and through our Administrative Investigation, we have determined that there was no ill intent that resulted in the placement of the “monkey” stuffed animal."
Thompson ended the release sympathizing with those who were offended by the stuffed animal.
"I certainly understand why community members would be offended, and we work every day to continue building trust in the WSPD, as well as keeping you safe by attempting to reduce crime and the fear of crime. Thank you for your time and continued support."