DPS Dispatch

The latest graduates of the Prison Emergency Response Team (PERT) basic training have joined an elite group of correctional officers in North Carolina. Prisons’ Chief of Security Kenneth Smith has often referred to PERT as, “the agency’s greatest resource due to the sheer numbers, experience and the broad scope of mission capabilities.”

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On July 1, 1929, after the General Assembly authorized the State Highway Patrol’s creation, 37 individuals took an oath of office and became North Carolina’s first state troopers. These patrol members monitored miles of highway on Harley Davidson motorcycles, enforcing motor vehicle laws and assisting the motoring public.  Fast forward 90 years, the highway patrol stands more than 1,600 sworn members strong with additional civilian employees who provide telecommunications, medical or administrative support.

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Pets—whether furry, scaled or feathered—are valued members of any family. When disasters strike, many families are at a loss of what to do with their pets, especially if they must evacuate. That’s why throughout the month of June, which is also Pet Preparedness Month, emergency management teams are encouraging pet owners to incorporate their animal friends into their emergency plans.

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The Proclaimers sang about walking 500 miles and Vanessa Carlton said she’d walk 1,000, but teams who participated in the spring Miles for Wellness Challenge walked a whole lot more! For eight weeks at the start of spring, 432 teams of ten people or less competed to see who could collectively walk the farthest. The distance of each team was measured on a virtual map from steps reported by participants. 

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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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