DPS Actions on COVID-19

Early this year, Gov. Roy Cooper tasked the N.C. Department of Public Safety, through its Division of Emergency Management, to co-chair the state's Novel Coronavirus Task Force in partnership with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. The task force, in coordination with stakeholders and federal, state and local agencies, worked to prepare the state's communities, residents, businesses, schools and health care providers for the potential of COVID-19 infections in North Carolina. DPS and its Division of Emergency Management leads the State Emergency Response Team (SERT) during emergencies. Other divisions within DPS such as the State Highway Patrol, NC National Guard and State Capitol Police also play key roles in supporting the SERT.

Emergency Management

Emergency Management

With the advent of COVID-19 infections in North Carolina, NC Emergency Management provides daily logistical support to NCDHHS, the incident's technical lead agency, by coordinating communications with local entities and the state's existing emergency management network of partners. In support of the Public Health Coordinating Center (PHCC) and the Public Health Incident Management Team, NCEM provides Incident Action Plan development and daily situation reporting; logistical support for supplies; and coordinated, unified communication (through social media, to the public and stakeholders through its participation and daily support of the State Emergency Response Team's Joint Information Center. 

 

Prisons Juvenile Justice

Juvenile Justice

June 11, 2020

  • Began implementing a plan to provide COVID-19 testing for children housed currently in state secure custody facilities, and to offer testing to all juveniles entering these facilities within 72 hours of their entry going forward during the coronavirus pandemic. Updated guidance on June 9 from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services recommended testing of all residents of congregant facilities. 

May 21, 2020

  • Confirming through COVID-19 testing that all 87 juveniles at Stonewall Jackson Youth Development Center, and one unit of four children at Chatham Youth Development Center, have not been infected by the coronavirus. COVID-19 testing of these juveniles earlier this week, and happening today with 19 juveniles at Edgecombe Youth Development Center, is occurring after a staff member at each facility self-reported that they tested positive for the coronavirus.

May 15, 2020 

Effective March 16, 2020 (updated May 22 & April 16, 2020)
The Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice is committed to doing everything possible to help ensure the health, safety and security of DPS employees, those housed within our system and ultimately the general public. To date, there have been no confirmed COVID-19 (also known as novel coronavirus) infections in North Carolina's Juvenile Justice facilities.

Juvenile Justice leadership is continuously monitoring this evolving situation and will take additional safety steps as warranted to help preempt and reduce the opportunity for the virus to spread. Based on recommendations from Gov. Roy Cooper, as well as information from the Governor’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Task Force and the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, various operational changes have been instituted to help protect the safety of our staff, and the juveniles and families we serve. To date, these operational changes include:

  • Suspending visitation and volunteer activities at all juvenile justice facilities, until conditions are deemed safe. All non-essential volunteers, contractors, and vendors are prohibited from entry. Contractors/staff undergo screening procedures prior to entry.
  • Placing all juvenile detention center/crisis and assessment center admissions in medical room confinement for up to 14 days or until cleared by a medical provider to join the general population.
  • Screening all juveniles being admitted to a juvenile facility for potential coronavirus symptoms. Anyone with symptoms will be quarantined while the source of their medical issues are investigated. Facility directors, teachers and clinicians work to ensure these youth have access to enrichment and entertainment activities.
  • Requiring that all staff, visitors and contractors entering a state-operated juvenile detention center or youth development center wear a mask at all times.
  • Requiring that all persons entering a Juvenile Justice worksite submit to temperature and symptom screening.
  • Screening all juveniles prior to transportation. If a juvenile is feverish or has a respiratory illness, the juvenile shall not be transported.
  • Placing into medical room confinement all juveniles in secure custody with symptoms while investigating the source of their medical issues and during provision of medical care. This is being done to prevent the spread of coronavirus if it emerges in the population.
  • Hiring additional health care workers to oversee preparations and implementation of COVID-19 response plans.
  • Rescheduling all non-critical off-site medical appointments
  • Posting informational literature in all facilities to stress the washing of hands and other preventive measures juveniles, staff and visitors can take to reduce the spread of diseases.
  • Decreasing the number of youth in detention through the utilization of electronic monitoring.
  • Suspending home visits for youth committed to a youth development center and deferring the requirement that a juvenile complete all pre‐release home visits before being release from a youth development center.
  • Increasing the number of phone calls permitted between juveniles and their families.
  • Limiting recreational services to non-contact activities.
  • Increasing the use of telehealth services, to include the provision of mental health services and assessments at detention centers in addition to youth development centers. 
  • Handling necessary court hearings via videoconference.
  • Conducting service planning and post release supervision planning meetings via telephone/videoconferencing for external stakeholders, including court counselors and the juvenile’s family.
  • Conducting non-essential meetings via videoconference.
  • Providing a health care summary and COVID-19 fact sheet upon the release of a juvenile from a detention center or youth development center. Juveniles and their families are instructed to contact the center if symptoms develop within 14 days after release.

It is important to note that social distancing is possible within juvenile detention centers and youth development centers. Juvenile detention centers, and individual living units within youth development centers, are comprised of a common area used for meals and recreation, along with individual rooms for each juvenile.

The Juvenile Justice Section regularly focuses on using alternatives to detention (such as electronic monitoring, home confinement, community-based programs, etc.) when appropriate for juveniles with nonviolent complaints who are awaiting adjudication, or trial, within juvenile court. During this pandemic, those efforts have been increased to include:

  • Reviewing juvenile cases for those who might be appropriate for release, and bringing them to the attention of the detaining judges for approval of release to community-based services.
  • Seeking other alternatives to detention for juveniles who committed minor violations of their probation. For example, requesting the court to allow a juvenile to serve court-ordered detention time for such a violation following the coronavirus crisis.
  • Increasing the use of electronic monitoring and other alternatives to detention.
  • Requesting judges rescind, in appropriate cases, outstanding bench orders for secure custody on juveniles with complaints for non-violent offenses.  

These efforts have helped to bring down the daily juvenile detention population by 25% since the beginning of March to mid-April, from 202 to 151. 

Additionally, ACJJ leadership has assigned a team to review all juvenile cases that are eligible for release from youth development centers, and to work with community-based partners to ensure effective transitions can occur. Prior to releasing any juvenile from a YDC, staff must ensure that the home and community environments are safe, supportive of the juvenile’s continued growth, and able to meet the juvenile’s needs in the areas of education and mental health treatment.

On April 6, Juvenile Community Programs issued a memo to program providers, county officials and Juvenile Crime Prevention Councils on "Continuity of Operations and Guidelines" during pandemic response. This memo included Guidance to Programs during the COVID-19 State of EmergencyGuidance to Counties and Juvenile Crime Prevention Councils (JCPCs)
during the COVID-19 State of Emergency
; and a Resource List for Agencies.

Community Corrections

Community Corrections

Effective June 10, 2020
Extended current temporary pandemic emergency pay to staff who work in community supervision positions. Based on current salaries, employees receive a 5 percent pay increase through June 2020. Administrative support positions in Community Corrections field offices are now eligible for the increase and will receive it retroactive to April 1, 2020.

Effective March 16, 2020
The Division of Community Corrections of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety is committed to reducing the risks of COVID-19 to Probation and Parole Officers and all Community Corrections staff as well as those under community supervision and post-release. Actions taken during this time are designed to ensure public safety while protecting the health and wellbeing of our staff, those under supervision and members of the public we may encounter in the carrying out our vital mission. Community Supervision will continue uninterrupted, however, modifications will be made to accomplish this task while reducing the COVID-19 risks to all those involved. 

The health and safety of employees and the juveniles in our care, as well as the offenders, in facilities and under community supervision, are top priorities of the Department of Public Safety.

Adult Correction & Juvenile Justice - Employee COVID-19 Testing initiative

Adult Correction & Juvenile Justice - Employee COVID-19 Testing initiative

The N.C. Department of Public Safety in Mid-May announced an initiative to make COVID-19 testing available to employees in its Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice (ACJJ). The plan provides a direct testing solution for the more than 21,000 employees who work across the state in prisons or juvenile facilities, or in the community supervising juveniles and adult offenders.

The solution provides for free, confidential, flexible and voluntary COVID-19 testing at identified FastMed Urgent Care locations throughout the state. LabCorp provides employees with results through its secure online portal. Employees receive specific information regarding locations, scheduling and how results will be provided.

This staff testing initiative has made testing available to employees who work for Prisons, Community Corrections and Juvenile Justice in more than 350 work sites, facilities, office settings and communities in each of the state’s 100 counties. This plan allows for the safe continuity of operations and confidentiality for ACJJ staff. 

ACJJ Employee Testing - Statewide Totals

 

Cumulative Positive

37

Total Tests Performed

2,420

Prison Regions Eastern 8  
Central 1
South Central 16
Western 6
Administration 2

Community Corrections (statewide)

3

Juvenile Facilities (YDCs & Detention, statewide)

0

Juvenile Court Services (statewide)

1

The cumulative number of positive results received from testing partners FastMed and LabCorp through July 1, 2020.

The total number of employee tests received from testing partners FastMed and LabCorp through June 30, 2020.

The total testing numbers include ACJJ employees tested under the partnership between DPS, the State Health Plan, FastMed and LabCorp beginning May 18, 2020, through July 31, 2020. There is not a direct correlation between the number of positive cases and number of tests conducted as there is a delay between when the test is administered and positive results are communicated to DPS.

Also, the test numbers include results of employees who may have been tested more than once for any reason. Therefore, subtracting the total positives from the cumulative number of tests DOES NOT yield a total number of negative results.

Training

Training

Effective March 16, 2020
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, effective immediately, the Department of Public Safety has suspended all training academies, planned or currently ongoing, for its adult correctional, juvenile justice and law enforcement employees, for an initial period of two weeks.

“While training is a critical need within DPS, we are operating in an extraordinary time, requiring difficult decisions,” said Secretary Erik A. Hooks.  “We must prioritize the health and safety of our employees, and ultimately the public health, during this pandemic. ”

Samarcand Training Academy

Suspended all training until at least March 29. Staff are disinfecting and sanitizing all rooms on campus, and social distancing measures are being practiced by administrative, housekeeping, maintenance and security staff.

Law Enforcement Agencies

Law Enforcement Agencies

Alcohol Law Enforcement

  • Alcohol Law Enforcement has issued additional hand sanitizer and gloves to all district personnel and are following guidance from the governor and the ABC Commission regarding retail ABC establishments.
  • Alcohol Law Enforcement has distributed protective masks, hand sanitizer and gloves to district personnel to use in accordance with NCDHHS and CDC guidance.
  • ALE has developed a new online “COVID-19 Be A Responsible Seller/Server (BARS)” Training regarding the Governor’s newly implemented executive orders as they relate to retail ABC businesses. This updated training will be available to all employees and permittees through the DPS website on Monday, April 13, 2020.

 
State Capitol Police

  • State Capitol Police has issued protective equipment and hand sanitizer to all duty stations and are following applicable guidance from  NCDHHS and the CDC. 
  • Due to increased foot traffic in the area and at the request of the NC Department of Cultural Resources, State Capitol Police is now posted at the North Carolina Museum of Art on Blue Ridge Road seven days a week.
  • Chief Hawley serves on the Governor’s Novel Coronavirus Task Force.

 
State Highway Patrol

  • The State Highway Patrol is coordinating with the Sheriff’s Association and two Police Chief Associations (NC Police Chiefs Association and IACP) to ensure all North Carolina law enforcement agencies are informed and involved in the state’s planning and response to COVID-19
  • The State Highway Patrol has issued personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer and first aid kits to personnel and are following guidance from NCDHHS and the CDC. 
  • Colonel McNeill serves on the Governor’s Novel Coronavirus Task Force and Lt. Colonel Gordon serves on the State Emergency Response Team and is collaborating with other state agencies on COVID-19 response.   

 
 

North Carolina National Guard

North Carolina National Guard

April 28, 2020 - More than 900 NC National Guardsmen are supporting North Carolina's COVID-19 response. Currently, NCNG soldiers and airmen are:

  • Distributing PPE to EM or medical facilities across the state
  • Supporting warehouse operations
  • Supporting NC Food Banks
  • Helping schools distribute food to students
  • Providing cyber protection support to NCEM's IT infrastructure
  • Supporting county EOCs with liaison teams
  • Supporting OEMS in the operation of a medical support facility in Sandhill, NC
  • NCNG planners working with EM and NCDHHS
     

April 20, 2020 - More than 830 NC National Guardsmen on on duty across the state supporting North Carolina's COVID-19 response. Currently, NCNG soldiers and airmen are:

  • Distributing PPE to EM or medical facilities across the state
  • Supporting warehouse operations
  • Providing cyber protection support to NCEM's IT infrastructure
  • Supporting county EOCs with liaison teams
  • NCNG planners working with EM and NCDHHS

Guard is prepared to support additional missions such as food distribution, and support to state food bank operations, COVID-19 testing teams and others if needed. 

April 8, 2020 - More than 240 NC National Guardsmen are on duty supporting COVID-19 response; if required an additional 1,000 Guardsmen are available for duty. Current missions include: logistics and warehouse support, commodities transport, cyber and communications support, basic construction and engineering, transportation of essential personnel (nurses, doctors), helicopter transport of commodities; help with disinfecting/cleaning common public spaces; 42nd civil support team capabilities (hazmat identification) and PPE experts can assist medical staff; collecting and delivering samples; support to local law enforcement and highway patrol; health and wellness checks; response planners assisting state partners, liaisons and support to state emergency operations centers, and much more if required like; power generation support, medical support (nurses and doctors), and shelter support.

COVID-19 News Releases


COVID-19 Executive Orders

Check here to find Executive Orders and Frequently Asked Questions related to North Carolina's response to the coronavirus.