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State Government
School Shootings Committee Presents Recommendations PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Monday, 11 February 2019 10:30

North Carolina schools needs to ramp up training for law enforcement and educators, improve physical security at schools, gather better information about potential threats, and invest in more mental health support for schools. Those are among the recommendations made by the North Carolina Governor’s Crime Commission Special Committee on School Shootings in a report presented today to Governor Roy Cooper.

“When parents send their kids to school they expect them to be out of harm’s way, and we owe it to these kids and their families to make sure our schools are safe environments for learning,” said Gov. Cooper. “I appreciate the work of this committee and I look forward to continuing to work with them as well as other parents, law enforcement officers and educators to push for safer schools.”

Prompted by the violent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, 2018, as well as other school shootings across the United States, Department of Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks requested that the Governor’s Crime Commission establish the Special Committee on School Shootings. Announced on April 19, 2018, the Special Committee includes sheriffs, juvenile justice experts, court officials, educators and other experts and is chaired by Gaston County Sheriff Alan Cloninger and former Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison.

“I want to thank the members of the committee and Governor’s Crime Commission staff for their work on this most important issue. I asked the Special Committee to approach their work with a “whole of community“ and “whole of government” mindset because we must all work together to keep our schools safe,” said Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks. “Making our schools safer has been and will continue to be a high priority for our department.”

The group held five meetings and hosted well-attended public forums in Greenville and Greensboro in 2018. These public forums were designed to ensure that community voices and ideas were heard and incorporated into the Special Committee’s report.

The Special Committee made 22 recommendations in the following areas: Training; Physical Security; Threat Intelligence/Assessment; School - Law Enforcement Partnerships; and possible Statutory Changes. The members included an additional 11 recommendations outside of these categories.

"Keeping our schools safe requires law enforcement, educators and communities working together toward a common goal and applying common sense," said Alan Cloninger, sheriff of Chatham County 2004-present.

"One major focus for us is how to provide all levels of law enforcement with the training and tools necessary to prevent these tragedies. Another key focus is making sure law enforcement and educators communicate more effectively about school threats so they can be addressed quickly and comprehensively," said Donnie Harrison, sheriff of Wake County 2002-2018.

Several of the committee’s recommendations echo Gov. Cooper’s own proposals to make schools safer, including more funding for mental health experts in schools, better training for teachers to recognize students at risk, and establishing gun violence protection orders so that North Carolinians can ask the courts to take guns away temporarily from an individual who is a danger to themselves or the community.

Among the recommendations in the report:

*     More School Resource Officers (SROs) in schools.

*     Enhanced mental health training for SROs.

*     Train SROs to teach schools how to respond to an active shooter crisis.

*     Require vulnerability assessments of schools to identify ways to make school buildings safer, including placement and use of security cameras and alarm systems.

*     Require local schools, law enforcement and emergency responders to work together on active shooter drills.

*     Support multi-disciplinary threat assessment teams (including SROs or law enforcement) to meet regularly, share information and discuss possible threats to school safety.

*     A statewide tip line or application for reporting threats to schools.

*     Improve data collected on incidents of school violence.

*     Fund the Governor’s budget requests for more mental health personnel and training for schools.

*     Train law enforcement and educators to communicate more effectively about school threats.

*     Develop Gun Violence Protection Orders to provide a legal process to temporarily remove guns from a dangerous individual.

“I can think of nothing more important than safeguarding the lives of our children,” said Robert Evans, chairman of the Governor’s Crime Commission. “The committee members know it is not enough to study an issue and release a report of findings and recommended actions. They know the hard work must continue as we move forward to implement these recommendations to do everything in our power to prevent future tragedies.”


DHHS - Flu Activity Increasing Across The State PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Friday, 08 February 2019 10:00
Influenza activity is rising in North Carolina as we move closer to the peak of the 2018-19 flu season. Although vaccination early in the season is preferred, it is never too late to get vaccinated and help protect yourself and others from the spread of this dangerous, sometimes deadly virus.
Six influenza-associated deaths were reported during the week ending on Feb. 2, and the total number of influenza-associated deaths reported this season is now 35. This does not represent all flu-associated deaths in the state, since many go undiagnosed or unreported.  
"Flu will be circulating, and infection rates will likely remain high at least for the next several weeks," said State Epidemiologist Zack Moore, MD, MPH. "Getting vaccinated now is the best way to protect yourself and those you come in contact with."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends vaccination against the flu for everyone 6 months and older. In addition to reducing the risk of infection, vaccination against the flu can make illness milder for those who do get sick and reduces the risk of more serious outcomes. Flu vaccinations are available at hospitals, pharmacies, private medical offices, some federally qualified health care centers and local health departments.
The number of flu-associated deaths reported in North Carolina since 2009 has varied from nine during the 2011–2012 season to 391 during the 2017–2018 season. This serves as a reminder that flu can be a serious illness, especially for adults over age 65, children under five, pregnant women and those with certain medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease.
Everyone should use precautions to protect against the spread of flu and other viruses, including: 
Wash hands frequently, preferably with soap and water or an approved hand sanitizer
Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then discard the tissue promptly
If you are sick with flu, staying home until you have been fever-free for at least 24 hours
Anyone who thinks they have the flu should contact their doctor right away to see if they need treatment with a prescription antiviral drug, such as Tamiflu. Early treatment with an antiviral drug can help prevent flu infections from becoming more serious. Treatment with a prescription antiviral drug is especially important for hospitalized patients, people with severe flu illness and those who are at high risk of serious flu complications based on their age or health.
For more information, including weekly updates on flu surveillance data and to find out where you can get a flu vaccination in your community, visit www.flu.nc.gov. 
Cooper Withdraws Nomination Of Charlotte Council member who equated police to "homegrown terrorist(s)" PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Thursday, 07 February 2019 10:45
Governor Roy Cooper rescinded his appointment of Charlotte City Council member LaWana Mayfield to the state’s Human Relations Commission. 
Senate President Phil Berger and 28 other Republicans called for Mayfield to be removed after the Charlotte News and Observer cited a 2018 social media post in which the councilwoman tweeted "back in America under #45 Trump has created homegrown terrorist(s) wearing blue uniforms.”
Cooper’s spokesperson Ford Porter said Cooper's “values law enforcement and recognizes that more must be done to build meaningful respect and understanding between law enforcement and communities.
Senate Republicans Call on Gov. Cooper to Withdraw Appointment Of Charlotte Councilwoman Who Called Police "Homegrown Terrorists" PDF Print E-mail
State Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 05 February 2019 12:40
Senate Republicans Call on Gov. Cooper to Withdraw Controversial Appointment
Appointee described police officers as "homegrown terrorists"
Cooper elevated her to the Human Relations Commission
Raleigh, N.C. – All 29 Republican senators today sent a letter to Governor Roy Cooper calling on him to withdraw his appointment of Charlotte City Council Member LaWana Mayfield to the N.C. Human Relations Commission. Council Member Mayfield characterized police officers as "homegrown terrorists." 
In their letter, the senators wrote, "Council Member Mayfield called North Carolina police officers 'homegrown terrorists,' despite the assassinations of police officers around the country by actual homegrown terrorists...Do you agree that this type of violent, hateful rhetoric has no place in our political discourse, and certainly not on a commission that is intended to promote equality and justice in governmental services?"
The full text of the letter is copied below.
February 5, 2019
Governor Roy Cooper
20301 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699
Dear Governor Cooper:
We write to request that you immediately withdraw your appointment of Charlotte City Council Member LaWana Mayfield to the North Carolina Human Relations Commission. We agree with the Charlotte Observer editorial board that you should not “look the other way” on this issue. 
Council Member Mayfield called North Carolina police officers “homegrown terrorists,” despite the assassinations of police officers around the country by actual homegrown terrorists. For example, in Dallas in 2016, Micah Xavier Johnson slaughtered five police officers in a targeted ambush. It was the deadliest day for law enforcement since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks – attacks which, sadly, Council Member Mayfield apparently believes were a conspiracy that may not have involved airplanes at all.
Do you agree that this type of violent, hateful rhetoric has no place in our political discourse, and certainly not on a commission that is intended to promote equality and justice in governmental services?
On November 8, 2018, you honored first responders who risked everything to save lives during and after Hurricane Florence. Just four weeks later, you elevated Council Member Mayfield to the Human Relations Commission despite her vitriolic attacks on the very men and women you thanked. 
The type of inflammatory rhetoric that Council Member Mayfield used to denigrate police officers makes their jobs even less safe. Your elevation of Council Member Mayfield to this commission raises questions about your administration’s stance toward law enforcement. Please send a strong message of support to North Carolina’s first responders – the men and women who protect our families and yours – by withdrawing Council Member Mayfield’s appointment. 

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