Author: Kirsten Barber
Every day across the state members of the NC Department of Public Safety – whether sworn or civilian – serve to protect the lives and property of those living in and visiting our state. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic staff have expanded their responsibilities to help distribute PPE, share lifesaving information or assist with vaccine rollout.
Probation and Parole Officer Cindy Ulibarri, a member of Unit O in Cleveland County, took on additional responsibilities this year while assisting with a community vaccination clinic. She has been with NCDPS for six years.
PPO Ulibarri’s family immigrated to the United States from Japan several generations back. During World War II, her grandfather fought on the front-line for the Allied Forces while his wife (Ulibarri's grandmother) suffered through a Japanese internment camp. Her family has passed on a lineage filled with determination and integrity that PPO Ulibarri continues to display through her role in the department.
As COVID-19 vaccines were initially rolling out in the area, the Cleveland County Emergency Management and Health departments requested help from PPO Ulibarri’s office during the beginning phase of the clinic. PPO Ulibarri was selected as the on-site lead due to her leadership, competence and efficiency. Members of her team were originally tasked with basic traffic duty, but PPO Ulibarri saw an area for improvement. She recommended that participating officers help community members fill out their paperwork while they waited. She developed a process to ensure that everyone had their paperwork filled out prior to talking with the nurses that administer the vaccine. This sped up the process and the flow of people through the clinic.
At the end of the week, the county Emergency Management director praised the team’s efforts, particularly the work done by PPO Ulibarri. More than 2,000 community members received their vaccines the week Cleveland County PPOs assisted with the clinic.
For Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the Department of Public Safety is spotlighting employees who have displayed exemplary service to their communities, either through their job or in their free time. Find more inspiring stories here.