DPS Dispatch

RALEIGH - On Aug. 20, the Prison Reform Advisory Board began work on composing its recommendations on best practices for maintaining prison safety to Secretary Erik A. Hooks. The Board, appointed by Sec. Hooks last year, was created to review best practices regarding policies, programs and services to ensure the safety and security of the state’s prison system. They reviewed topics including health services, training, staffing, technology, communications and programs.  

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A delegation of state officials, including some from the Department of Public Safety, visited the African nation of Botswana in July to share their knowledge with government agencies in that country, as part of the National Guard’s State Partnership Program. North Carolina National Guard soldiers and airmen, along with Guard forces from Alabama and New Jersey, participated this month in Upward Minuteman 2019, a large training exercise with the Botswana Defense Forces, promoting the National Guard’s State Partnership programs on the African continent.   

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North Carolina prisons work extremely hard in balancing custody concerns with programming that teaches offenders skills to be put to use back in the community when sentences are served. This year at Lincoln Correctional Center, offenders grew so many fruits and vegetables that there wasn’t enough space at the facility. So, they donated more than 2,400 pounds to two local non-profits for their use. “This was a great way to give back to the community,” said Lincoln CC Warden Sam Dotson (center in photo on the right). “The offenders felt good about doing this.”

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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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