Blog: DPS Dispatch

When Trooper J. L. Thorpe photographed a NC State Highway Patrol Dodge Charger one evening at the Raleigh-based training academy driving track, he didn’t expect that photo to be chosen to represent the agency in the American Association of State Troopers’ (AAST) “Best Looking Cruiser” Contest.

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Dr. Eric Barnes was surprised and honored when he was notified of his selection as the Juvenile Justice section’s 2021 Teacher of the Year. After all, he felt plenty of teachers were worthy of the honor not only at Lenoir Youth Development Center, but at every statewide facility that worked during a pandemic.

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Summer is the time of year many North Carolinians choose to travel and participate in outdoor activities. Whether you’re visiting the mountains, the coast or somewhere in between, keep these safety tips in mind all summer long. Travel Safely Taking a road trip this summer? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2019, 9,025 vehicle crashes that occurred in June, July and August involved fatalities. These collisions were caused by risky behaviors like excessive speeding and distracted driving.

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We are about a month into hurricane season. Forecasters have predicted an above normal season and already there have been a few named storms. Hopefully, you are already prepared for any storms with an emergency supplies kit. If not, it’s time to get your household ready. Be sure your preparations include supplies and plans for taking care of pets during these weather emergencies. If it’s not safe for you, it’s not safe your pets either. Make plans now to ensure your pets remain safe.  Have Your Pet Ready

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Whether you are a longtime homeowner or first-time buyer, purchasing insurance can be an intimidating task. The beginning of hurricane season is a great time to look at the types of insurance coverage you have and determine if it is adequate. Remember, new policies usually take 30 days to go into effect. So, plan now. Flood Insurance Did you know an inch of water can cause up to $25,000 in damage to your home or business? Most home, business and renters insurance policies do NOT cover flood damage. Flood insurance is a separate policy that will cover your home and belongings.

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Healthcare workers, especially nurses, have built a name for themselves as those wanting to serve others. The Department of Public Safety Nursing Resource Liaison Ramesh “Ram” Upadhyaya is the epitome of public servant and has spent his entire career serving others. Upadhyaya joined DPS in 2016 and spends his days recruiting other nurses to work at DPS healthcare facilities. He works career fairs and visits with nursing students to tell them about nursing opportunities throughout DPS. 

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For Asian-American and Pacific Islander Month, the health care team at N.C. Correctional Institution for Women has recognized seven members of its nursing staff.   Prisons' nurses have proven themselves many times over during the pandemic, said Dr. James Alexander, NCCIW healthcare facility administrator. "It goes without saying that the past year and more of COVID has been exceedingly difficult," Alexander said, "and it has been nurses such as our Asian-American and Pacific Islander family that have enabled us to be as successful as we have."  

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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. 

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For nearly 40 years, May 25 has been declared National Missing Children's Day. The annual designation, which began in 1983, is designed to draw attention to and prioritize child safety. The commemoration serves as a reminder to continue efforts to reunite missing children with their families and an occasion to honor those dedicated to the cause. 

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Protect, prevent and prepare. Employees throughout the Department of Public Safety embody this mission daily as they safeguard and preserve the lives and property of North Carolinians. Across the state DPS employees conduct their jobs in variety of ways supporting the mission. Some work at a desk, patrol the roads, investigate crimes or secure correctional facilities. Wherever the setting, DPS staff are there to protect, prevent and prepare.

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Rapid molecular testing is anticipated to save Prisons time and money N.C. Prisons has invested in a newly approved COVID-19 testing platform, eliminating the need for outside labs to test for the virus. Lab manager Katie Gaffney of MD-BIO (right) walks Central Prison medical personnel -(from left) lab technician Donna Sulton, nurse director Elissa Brody and lab technician Kenyetta Johnson - through the procedures during a training session for a new molecular testing system

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Spring is in the air, summer is around the corner and people are enjoying pleasant weather across North Carolina. Hikers are making their way along a mountain trail where a waterfall cascades to the stream below. The stream winds its way through the lush forests to a river that rolls through the Piedmont. Greenways along the riverside are bustling with people pushing strollers and cruising along on a bike ride. The river eventually makes its way to the ocean, where rolling waves break lazily along the coastline. Beachgoers sit under colorful umbrellas and enjoy the cool ocean breeze.

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With new COVID-19 cases on the decline, prisons providing vaccinations to all incarcerated individuals who want the vaccine; and  vaccines now widely available in communities across the state; the N.C. Department of Public Safety is wrapping up a project that provided quarantine space to recently released offenders who may have been exposed to COVID-19 prior to release. This group would have otherwise been homeless or didn’t have a stable home to go to following completion of their sentences.

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