DPS Dispatch

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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When Hurricane Florence made its landfall in North Carolina, thousands of businesses and homes were damaged or destroyed.  Joseph Brown’s home in Chinquapin was flooded with five feet of water from the nearby Northeast Cape Fear River, which lies only a half-mile away. Flooding in the area was extensive, stretching 11 miles along the river from Chinquapin to the nearby town of Wallace.

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Since 1995, US presidents have proclaimed March as “Women’s History Month.” However, the month-long recognition of female accomplishments throughout history began the previous decade, when Congress requested the president proclaim the week of March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week.” In 1987, after being petitioned by the National Women's History Project, Congress changed the designation to become a month-long one.

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Duplin County - Back in October 2016, when Hurricane Matthew brought widespread flooding and strong winds, Larry Williams and his wife, Daisy Williams would have never guessed that they would be faced with another overwhelming storm almost two years later in 2018. “I was not expecting this at all,” Williams said while discussing the turmoil of Hurricane Florence. The Williams family lives 400 yards west of Cape Fear River in Chinquapin where they experience heavy flooding often, but Hurricane Florence has been the worst yet. 

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Disaster can strike at any time, in any season. Practicing emergency plans regularly and updating emergency supplies semi-annually is an important and even lifesaving habit to keep. Clocks will be moving forward by one hour at 2 o’clock on Sunday (March 10) morning, signifying that we’re days away from the official first day of spring. Daylight Savings Time happens twice a year and are perfect times to check through your home to ensure you have the proper tools to help you through an emergency. 

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Initial class to complete new expanded training curriculum The first graduation ceremony of the year’s first class of basic probation/parole officer trainees came complete with the pageantry, and pomp and circumstance of a major state event. What made this occasion different than those Community Corrections had hosted in the past was one, the location, and two, the special keynote speaker.

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When the age of juvenile jurisdiction increases (also known as Raise the Age) on Dec. 1, 2019, there will be new faces aplenty. Included among those are obviously the faces of the older youths that Juvenile Justice will now be serving, but they won’t be the first faces to show up. With Raise the Age comes the growing need to serve more kids, so we need new staff faces! William Lassiter, Deputy Secretary for Juvenile Justice, believes “opportunities for people to find a career in this field are continuing to emerge, so now is the time to bring your skills to our mission.”

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On Feb. 21, Department of Public Safety leaders briefed legislators on ongoing efforts to reform the state’s prison system, stressing the safety of employees remains paramount. Much of the presentation by Tracy Little, deputy secretary for Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice, to the Joint Legislative Appropriations Subcommittee on Justice and Public Safety focused on what is needed to make sure facilities are manned to safely supervise offenders and ensure the protection of prison staff. 

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Gary Mohr had high expectations prior to leading the two-day Prisons Leadership Development Workshop on Feb. 18-19. He knew he had an audience hungry to receive skills they could take back to their facilities, and he had the morsels to provide the nutritional needs. Following the workshop, Mohr was extremely happy not only with what he saw from the group but his vision of where the North Carolina prison system is heading.

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