Blog: DPS Dispatch

Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season and has made a name for itself as the largest shopping day of the year. Many friends and family shop together to plan a day scoring deals upon deals. But satisfying shopping experiences can quickly turn sour if we’re not careful. Following these tips will help keep you safe however you choose to shop in this holiday season and during a pandemic.  Shopping during COVID-19 Whether shopping in person or picking up items, taking a few extra precautions this year will help keep you, your family and friends safe during the COVID-19 era. 

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Bertie Correctional Institution Sgt. Robert Russell is a trailblazer in his northeastern North Carolina county. Not only was he a member of the first Public Safety Cadet Program class back in 2017 at Bertie High School, he also was the first member of the program to be hired by the state prison in 2018. 

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Partnerships between agencies are important in state government. Problems at one agency may be easily solved by another if there was a way to bring everyone together. The Office of Strategic Partnerships, through the Office of State Budget and Management, works to increase and enhance partnerships between state government and North Carolina's research universities and philanthropic sector.

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At its September National Memorial Ceremony and Training Institute Recognition Luncheon in Bloomington, Minnesota, the Correctional Peace Officers Foundation honored Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice’s S.H.I.E.L.D. Critical Incident Administrator Jeffery Billups for his heroic actions last summer while driving home from work. Billups (pictured in center) received the CPOF Above and Beyond the Call of Duty Award from the CPOF Board of Directors Chairman Glenn Mueller and National Director Ron Barnes.

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Collisions and other road incidents can happen any time, anywhere, no matter the experience level of the driver. One of the safest choices both drivers and passengers can make in a vehicle is to wear a seat belt. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that in 2017, seat belt use in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 14,955 lives. In that same year, 47 percent of those killed in motor vehicle crashes were not wearing a seat belt.

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As National Domestic Violence Awareness Month winds down this week, it’s important to include a vital function within the North Carolina Department of Public Safety - Victim Services. Under the direction of Liddie Shropshire, this section of Administration provides a team of employees responsible for addressing both the functional and monetary needs of those individuals in our state who have been victimized by crime.

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The Department of Public Safety is charged with preventing, protecting and preparing North Carolinians from actual or potential dangers. While much attention is placed on natural disasters, those aren’t the only instances when the public needs to be protected.  The department is a great resource for safety tips to help you and your family stay safe. To serve our growing Spanish-speaking population, many of these resources also are available in Spanish. Emergency Plan

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The ongoing pandemic temporarily halted in-person educational programs in every state prison due to restrictions placed on outside visitation by instructors, as well as community colleges stopping classes. But it did not stop the N.C. Field Minister Program from moving forward into its fourth year at Nash Correctional Institution.

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The Division of Prisons works tirelessly to train offenders for life back in the community. Educational and job training opportunities abound in the state’s 50-plus facilities through Correction Enterprises and other avenues, but the majority of those opportunities benefit male offenders. Thanks to its continuing partnership with The College at Southeastern in Wake Forest, a program geared toward female offenders is now in place at the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women in Raleigh.

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Navigating the uncharted waters of a modern-day pandemic has been difficult and challenging for everyone, particularly for people working and living in congregate housing settings. That’s one reason DPS is using existing provisions in state law to reduce the prison population to help reduce the spread of the virus.

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One of the most important – yet easily overlooked – ways to be disaster ready is making sure you have critical information stored in a safe place. Having copies of your identification, financial and legal documentation, medical information and critical contacts in a secure, easily accessible location will help you more quickly recover after a disaster. 

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A major change has arrived in the Juvenile Justice section, for the second time in just nine months. Last December, North Carolina’s juvenile justice system began implementing “Raise the Age,” providing most youth aged 16 and 17 who commit crimes with access to services through Juvenile Justice, rather than adult court. Some offenses, however, must by statute be heard from beginning to end in the criminal court (adult) system.

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COVID-19 has affected our lives in so many ways. That is especially true when it comes to sheltering plans during an emergency. We are approaching the peak of hurricane season and the landscape for evacuation shelters is drastically different this year. North Carolina Emergency Management officials want you to know what to expect at shelters this year so that you can begin preparing. Prepare, prepare, prepare and prepare some more 

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August is Preparedness Month in North Carolina. So, it’s somewhat fitting that the month kicked off with a hurricane that brought flooding, damaging winds and tornadoes to the eastern portion of the state. Not to mention the first week ended with a rare magnitude 5.1 earthquake felt throughout the region.  Yes, the first week of preparedness month was a stark reminder that North Carolina experiences multiple hazards, some of which occur with little to no warning. 

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