DPS Dispatch

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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When the Code Four for a disturbance on Red Unit went out over the radio, Corrections Captain George “Pat” Nolan rushed into chaos. The offenders were screaming and banging on their cell doors. The noise was deafening. At first, he didn’t see the problem. He was told to look up. Only then did he notice the offender standing on a narrow beam on the upper level of the housing unit. A rope made of T-shirts was tied around a ceiling pipe and his neck. He was precariously rocking back and forth.

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Whenever there’s an emergency, look for a Department of Public Safety agency to step forward and not only assist but play a role in getting the job done. On March 25, five offenders escaped from the Nash County Jail.  In a relatively short period, probation/parole officers, the state Central Region prisons' K-9 handlers and the State Highway Patrol provided assistance, from feet on the ground and in the air to search, set up perimeters and kept the community safe with the capture of four of the five escapees.

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As the largest employer among all state departments and with positions spanning from sworn law enforcement to emergency management, the Department of Public Safety is always recruiting top talent to answer the call of keeping our state safe. Potential applicants can learn about it all in one place this Wednesday as DPS holds its biggest job fair of the year, the Second Annual Public Safety Career Expo at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds.

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Unsafe roadways, lowered property values and damaged ecosystems are all lasting consequences of litter. Each year in the United States, 51 billion pieces of litter can be found strewn along roadsides, according to Keep America Beautiful. In our state, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) spent more than $15 million on cleanup and removed nearly 7.5 million pounds of roadside litter in 2015. 

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DPS employees do it all. They help people get back on their feet after a disaster and help strengthen families by supporting and educating juveniles. They help keep our highways safe and protect the public by supervising our prisons.   When their busy days are done, they go home and help their communities. The latest examples of that selflessness came during National Volunteer Week, April 7 through 13.

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This beautiful spring morning, white doves gracefully flew out among pink blossoming trees in downtown Raleigh, as advocates and allies congregated to recognize the price paid by crime victims. The releasing of doves culminated the second of two events held in honor of Crime Victims’ Rights Week, which Governor Cooper proclaimed to be observed in our state on April 7 through 13, 2019. During this week, events touched on the many ways lives are impacted, some of which are not the obvious examples we think of when we hear the words “crime victim.”

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Fairmont – Phostenia McCrimmon, a United States military veteran and member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, has lived in her home since 1980. McCrimmon served in the army for three years before moving to North Carolina permanently. As someone who does a lot of community service within her sorority, McCrimmon was overwhelmed by the help that she received from both Hurricane Matthew and Florence. 

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Wallace - Teresa Kelley, a Hurricane Florence survivor, has been a resident of the Town of Wallace in Duplin County since 2000. Her home is a half-mile from the Northeast Cape Fear River on a dirt road. Although the inside of Kelley’s home was not damaged by Hurricane Matthew in 2016, it was surrounded by water 10 feet deep. As Hurricane Florence approached in 2018, Kelley and her husband evacuated six miles away to stay with their daughter’s boyfriend. After the storm, Kelley and her husband could not visit their home to view the damages until a week after the flooding diminished.

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Jacksonville – For 30 years, Delane Gearhart has lived in the same home in Jacksonville that survived two disastrous hurricanes, Floyd and Matthew, prior to Hurricane Florence. Gearhart, - along with her family of four and a family friend who stays with her - prepared for Florence days before its arrival, but they had to leave the Sunday immediately after the storm because they ran out of food and a tree had fallen on the home’s septic tank. 

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For the second straight year, Community Corrections Director Tracy Lee recently brought his statewide district managers to Raleigh for a leadership workshop. And, for the second straight year, Lee was very pleased with what he saw and heard from staff. “We were able to afford them information about their accomplishments for the past year and our goals moving forward,” Lee said. “Top-level management had the opportunity to fellowship. It was important for them to know they weren’t the only ones dealing with certain issues and they could support one another.”

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For years, AmeriCorps programs and its members have been helping communities move forward and recover from the damage caused by disasters. The need for aid after Hurricane Florence is no different. Kayla Williams, an American Disaster Response Team (ADRT) incident commander, with AmeriCorps assigned to Hurricane Florence, saw it all first-hand.  “North Carolina has an immense need for response. There is a lot more damage than people know and a lot of people are still suffering from previous hurricanes,” Williams said. 

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