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News Roundup

WNCT reports that the Greenville Police Department and the Pitt County Sheriff’s Department, in partnerships with Integrated Family Services, will soon launch Co-Responder Mental Health Response Programs.  Under the GPD program, which starts next week, IFS professionals will work directly out of police headquarters and respond alongside law enforcement officers to situations involving possible mental health crises.  The GPD program, which will be the first of its kind in eastern North Carolina, will begin next week, and the program at the Sheriff’s Department will begin later this spring.  Keep reading for more news. 

F.A.S.T.  The American Stroke Association uses the acronym FAST – face drooping; arm weakness ; speech difficulty; time to call 911 – to help inform the public about how to spot when someone is having a stroke and to emphasize that getting prompt treatment in that situation is essential.  WFMY reports that North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper A.J. Ramirez recognized these symptoms in a man who had stopped near his patrol car in Rocky Mount to seek help and was able to get the man to Nash General Hospital in his patrol car in under 5 minutes.

Forsyth Jail Suit. Back in 2019, the News Roundup noted the filing of a civil lawsuit against the medical provider for Forsyth County Jail, Correct Care Solutions LLC, by the family of a man who died there in 2017 due to complications from asthma while serving a DWI sentence.  Deshawn Lamont Coley’s family alleges that jail medical staff had been negligent in caring for Coley and the Winston-Salem Journal reported this week that a 2023 trial date has been set in the case.  The Journal article also mentions that the county’s contract with the company, now known as Wellpath, expires in September of this year.  The News Roundup noted Forsyth’s contract with Wellpath last year while mentioning an Atlantic article where Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough explained that there were few companies to choose from when selecting jail medical providers.

Silent Sam. WRAL reports that the ongoing pandemic contributed to charges being dropped this week against two men who had been convicted in District Court last year of injury to real property and other offenses in connection with the toppling of the Silent Sam statue on the UNC Chapel Hill campus.  Shawn Birchfield-Finn and Raul Jimenez had appealed their misdemeanor convictions to Superior Court, and Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said that the backlog of trials attributable to the pandemic had caused his office to dismiss many nonviolent misdemeanor cases in order to prioritize felony cases.

Trial Pause.  In another story that highlights the difficulty of holding criminal trials during the pandemic, the Wilmington Star-News reported this week that the trial of a former New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office deputy, who is accused of forcible trespass and breaking and entering for allegedly leading an armed group to the wrong house in Pender County while looking for his missing sister, currently is in limbo after being put on hold in December because of COVID.  The state finished presenting its evidence before the pause, but a date has not yet been set for when the trial will resume so the defense can present its case.

Civil Law Faculty Position.  The School of Government is hiring a tenure-track faculty member who will specialize in civil procedure and the practical aspects of conducting civil trials and contested hearings.  The application deadline is February 11, and more information about the position and instructions for applying can be found here.

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