DPS Dispatch

The DPS team has seen real results across the state as it works to put Governor Cooper’s Opioid Action Plan into action. Below, we outline where we are now and our future initiatives in this realm, as we work to meet our goal of helping the North Carolinians struggling with opioid use disorder to lead healthier, more productive lives through prevention, harm reduction and access to care. 

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The following message is from North Carolina Department of Public Safety Secretary Erik Hooks. --- The heavy rains that drenched parts of North Carolina this week and resulted in severe flooding to different areas are an all too familiar reminder of the importance of making sure you and your family are prepared in case of an emergency. June also marks the official start to another hurricane season and as so many of us have experienced first-hand, it only takes one storm to do serious damage.

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State government has plenty of connections with the business community, using vendors and contractors which creates jobs and economic opportunities. In North Carolina, agencies have been charged to make efforts to provide opportunities that are inclusive of historically underutilized businesses (HUBs). In the past year, DPS jumped to the head of the pack for HUB-inclusive business practices among state departments, and has received special recognition for it.

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Hurricane Florence made its landfall in North Carolina more than eight months ago. The historic storm left many homeowners’ devastated and hopeless. At the beginning of 2019, North Carolina implemented the NC Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power (NC STEP) program.  The storm’s destruction left thousands without power and damaged homes, and STEP provided a means to help homeowners’ return to their houses more quickly. 

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Avery-Mitchell Correctional Institution licensed practical nurse Jane Smith was heading home from work on May 7 on U.S. 421 in Vilas like any other day when traffic came to a halt. “A lady was running up the road screaming and I asked if anyone was hurt,” said Smith, who will celebrate her twentieth year at the facility in January. 

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Sherrie Mickelson-Mickelson-Hilliard has lived in her mobile home since 1998 and has felt the impact of Hurricanes Floyd, Matthew, and Florence. However, Hurricane Florence has been the only major Hurricane to cause damage to Mickelson-Mickelson-Hilliard’s home that she and her husband, Rob Mickelson-Hilliard, couldn’t fix on their own. 

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Nurses Answer the Call “4 million reasons to celebrate.”  This is the slogan for the 2019 American Nurses Association (ANA), National Nurses Week recognition. (Find out more here.) Many of those four million reasons work in correctional healthcare. Teams of dedicated medical professionals provide juvenile and adult offenders housed in NCDPS facilities with the same level of healthcare accessed by the general public. 

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Everyone loves to eat. Now, as far as food preparation goes, that’s another story. Central Prison Food Service Manager Conell Chapman loves food. He loves to eat, and he loves the process of preparation. Chapman also loves imparting that wisdom to offenders and prison staff, not just at Central Prison in Raleigh but to other prisons, county jails and federal facilities in North Carolina, across the country and Canada.

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There’s a special kind of therapist making the rounds at Catawba Correctional Center. Her name is Lou Lou. “Good morning Lou Lou,” is echoed every day when folks encounter the friendly greeter. She’s not an official employee, but more like a volunteer who gets paid with an occasional dog treat or a pat on the head. Lou Lou is the facility mascot, a dog serving as a daily reminder of the value of the life and joy she brings as man’s best friend to many men and women inside the fence at Catawba.

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The walls are white, the counters are antiseptic and the recliners are set comfortably next to treatment stations. It looks like a typical medical outpatient clinic. But this dialysis unit sits on the other side of barbed wire and heavy, steel electronically-controlled locked doors. The waiting room is occupied by a uniformed officer. It’s in a prison. The long-planned new kidney dialysis unit at Scotland Correctional Institution opened today (April 29), and will be able to handle up to 72 male dialysis patients a week.

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Have you ever lost a job? Have you ever wondered whether you had the skills/education to find a job? Have you ever simply felt alone in a strange town without a safety net of family or friends? Consider shouldering all three of those scenarios simultaneously. A young person transitioning out of the juvenile justice system may feel the weight of all these pressures (along with the additional stigma that may accompany having been held in secure custody).

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During the month of March, five different colleges came to North Carolina to help the North Carolina Baptists on Mission (NCBM) complete repairs to homes that were impacted by Hurricane Florence. During the week of March 10, college students from Ohio State University (OSU) spent their spring break helping two homeowners who were approved to participate in the North Carolina Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power (STEP) program.  The NC STEP program provides homeowners with limited, temporary repairs to make a home safe, clean and secure.  

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