Governor Carney Announces Level 1 Driving Warning for Winter Storm in New Castle County

Driving warning begins at midnight, urges extra caution on roadways

WILMINGTON, Del. – With an impending winter storm expected to impact Delaware, Governor John Carney on Monday evening issued a Level 1 Driving Warning for New Castle County effective Tuesday, March 14 at 12:00 a.m., and authorized the Delaware National Guard to assist state and local officials with any necessary response and recovery for this severe winter storm effective Monday, March 13, 2017 at 9:00 p.m.

A Level One Driving Warning means that any person operating a motor vehicle on Delaware roadways must exercise extra caution. Driving is not banned, but nonessential employees (both public and private) are encouraged not to operate a motor vehicle unless there is a significant safety, health or business reason to do so.

Updated information from the National Weather Service indicates the following for Delaware:

New Castle County

  • A Winter Storm Warning is in effect from Monday, March 13 at 8:00 p.m. until Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at 6:00 p.m..
  • Expect heavy snow and sleet, with snow accumulation 6-10 inches.
  • Snow is expected to start between 8:00 p.m. and 10 p.m. this evening, heavy at times after midnight. Snow will mix with sleet between 2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m., then change back to snow in Tuesday morning.
  • A Coastal Flood Advisory in effect Tuesday from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

Kent County

  • A Winter Storm Advisory is in effect from Monday, March 13, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. until Tuesday, March 14 at 4:00 p.m.
  • Expect snow and sleet, with snow accumulation 2-4 inches.
  • Snow is expected to start Monday evening between 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., change to or mix with sleet and rain Tuesday morning, then back to snow.
  • A Coastal Flood Advisory in effect Tuesday from 7:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

Sussex County

  • A Coastal Flood Watch in effect Tuesday, March 14, 2017 from 7:00 AM until 3:00 p.m.
  • A High Wind Warning will be in effect Tuesday from 2:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m.

The Delaware Division of Public Health reminds residents to protect themselves and animals ahead of the winter storm.

The Governor urges media and residents to check social media for continuous updates:
https://twitter.com/JohnCarneyDE
https://www.facebook.com/JohnCarneyDE
https://twitter.com/DelawareDOT
https://twitter.com/DelawareEMA

 

 

Click here for a PDF of the Declaration of a Limited State of Emergency and Level 1 Driving Warning for New Castle County due to a Severe Winter Storm.


Governor Carney Takes Steps to Address Security Concerns at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center

Measures include new staffing at JTVCC, equipment, security teams

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney announced on Monday that he is taking important steps to address security risks for employees and inmates at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center (JTVCC), and across Delaware’s correctional system, following the February 1 hostage incident.

Initial steps include:

  • An investment of $340,800 in new security and communications equipment to better equip correctional officers to respond to and prevent violent incidents at JTVCC and in Level V facilities statewide. Governor Carney will propose another $1.2 million for equipment purchases in his Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal – which will be released March 23.
  • Increasing the presence of specialized security teams and the frequency with which they perform random security sweeps at JTVCC.
  • A proposal in Governor Carney’s recommended Fiscal Year 2018 budget plan to add 50 correctional officers at JTVCC – and an increase of 25 correctional officers at the Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution – at a total cost of $2.3 million.
  • The relaunch of a consistent email address – AskDOC@delaware.gov – to improve communication between family members of inmates and Department of Correction personnel. Family members can send questions and concerns to that address, or reach DOC personnel at (302) 857-5470.

The Delaware State Police and the Delaware Department of Justice continue to lead a criminal investigation into the events of February 1 and February 2, including the death of Lieutenant Steven Floyd. The Delaware Department of Correction is also conducting an internal investigation.

Given the duration of the criminal investigation and his sense of urgency surrounding this issue, Governor Carney also announced Monday that the Independent Review – led by Justice Henry duPont Ridgely and Judge William L. Chapman Jr. – will commence this week. The reviewers have contracted with the Police Foundation to assist in the review, and they will coordinate with the Delaware State Police and the Delaware Department of Justice to ensure they do not compromise any aspect of the criminal investigation.

“Once Justice Ridgely and Judge Chapman complete their review, I will take their recommendations seriously and take appropriate action to address safety and security risks at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center,” said Governor Carney. “In the meantime, however, it’s our responsibility to do whatever is in our power to make the environment at Vaughn safer for correctional officers and inmates. Prisons are inherently dangerous places. But everyone inside that prison, and their loved ones, deserves to know that their government takes their safety seriously, and that we’re doing what we can right now to right the ship at Vaughn.”

“Maintaining the security of James T. Vaughn Correctional Center and all of Delaware’s correctional facilities remains our number one priority,” said Perry Phelps, Commissioner of the Delaware Department of Correction. “The short-term investments in state-of-the art equipment will help our officers identify and respond to security threats, and longer-term investments in staffing, recruitment and officer training will go a long way to helping ensure public safety, and the safety and security of employees and inmates at all of our facilities.”

“I appreciate the governor taking these first steps toward addressing the issues facing our correctional system,” said Representative James “J.J.” Johnson, who chairs the House Corrections Committee. “While today’s announcement represents a positive step, we also must commit to looking at the whole issue and take action to rectify it. We cannot go halfway, and we cannot look at only one aspect. I look forward to hearing more in the coming weeks and months ahead as the independent review takes place.”

“I’m pleased to hear the Administration is taking important steps to beef up security in our prisons prior to the conclusion of the Vaughn investigation,” said Senator Bruce Ennis, who chairs the Senate Corrections & Public Safety Committee. “We must move swiftly to give our correctional officers the tools and resources necessary to keep our prisons safe while we consider broader staffing solutions and other recommendations that may come out of the independent investigation.”

“The severity of the situation in our correctional system requires swift action, not only to produce results in safety within the confines of our prisons, but also to restore the confidence of our correctional employees,” said Representative Deborah Hudson, the House Minority Whip. “I am hopeful that these measures will send an important message that we support their work. I also commend the Governor for working quickly to address these problems that are years long. The tragedy at the Vaughn Correctional Center happened after only weeks of the Governor taking office, and, already, he is showing his commitment to making immediate, as well as systemic, changes within our correctional system.”

The following is a fuller description of the measures the Governor is taking:

Equipment
The Governor has authorized the Department of Correction to work with the Office of Management and Budget to purchase new communications equipment to enable more effective coordination of officer response to incidents; equipment that will allow officers to conduct safer, more effective searches; and new protective gear for correctional officers.

Security Teams
The Department of Correction has increased the presence of specialized security teams and the frequency with which they perform random security sweeps at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center. Where warranted, those identified as security threats are being relocated to higher-security housing units.

Officer Retention, Pay & Staffing
The Department of Correction and the Office of Management and Budget are working expeditiously to review and address recruitment and retention of quality correctional officers. This review includes an examination of hiring strategies and potential adjustments to the entry salary for correctional officers through collective bargaining starting in the spring.

Governor Carney will include an increase of 50 correctional officers at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center and a further increase of 25 correctional officers at the Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution in his recommended budget for FY 2018. In addition, Governor Carney will recommend providing additional funding for correctional officer training, as well as funding to broaden recruitment efforts and advertising, to ensure correctional officer positions are filled as quickly as possible.

Communication
Family members of inmates may send questions and concerns to an email address – AskDOC@delaware.gov – that will be monitored by Department of Correction personnel. They also may contact the Department of Correction at (302) 857-5470. Department of Correction staff also now have access to a new, internal email to communicate concerns and ideas with agency leadership.

Correctional Officer Well-Being
The Department of Correction has worked with behavioral health volunteers from the Delaware Medical Reserve Corps and the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH) Mobile Crisis Team in order to provide behavioral health support teams to correctional officers statewide. The Department has partnered with churches, police agencies, and other organizations to provide free services to DOC staff and their immediate family members since the February 1 incident. Additionally, the Department has worked with members of the Delaware Psychological Association to provide free short-term crisis counseling for DOC and provider staff affected by the incident.

Behavioral health resource guides have been distributed to DOC staff members who wish to find a provider in their community. DOC staff who sought faith-based support were provided contact information for the “Clergy Group” through the Salvation Army. Facility staff has been provided behavioral health support through partnerships with the K9 First Responder Therapy Dogs and Delaware’s Paws for People. During the incident, DOC worked with DSAMH’s Mobile Crisis, K9 First Responder Therapy Dogs, and the State’s Employee Assistance Program to provide behavioral health services within correctional facilities and directly to staff.

 

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Governor Carney Announces Re-Appointment of Judge Witham to Delaware Superior Court

Nomination must be approved by the Delaware Senate

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Saturday announced his nomination to re-appoint Judge William L. Witham Jr. to the Delaware Superior Court, as Resident Judge for Kent County.

The Delaware Senate must approve Judge Witham’s nomination.

“Judge Witham has served the State of Delaware with distinction,” said Governor Carney. “I am pleased he has agreed to continue his service, and look forward to the Delaware Senate considering his nomination.”

The Honorable William L. Witham Jr. became an Associate Judge of the Delaware Superior Court in February 1999. He was appointed Kent County Resident Judge in January 2005.

Click here for Judge Witham’s full bio.


Governor Carney’s Statement on Artificial Island Project Recommendations

WILMINGTON, Del.Governor John Carney issued the following statement on recommendations Friday from the PJM Transmission Expansion Advisory Committee:

“This project, as currently financed, would place an unjust burden on Delaware residential and industrial ratepayers. Delaware businesses and families would see higher monthly electric bills, and receive next to nothing in return in the way of a direct benefit. I intend to work with members of Delaware’s federal delegation, the Public Service Commission, our Public Advocate, and the General Assembly to oppose the current cost allocation as set by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. This is not a good deal for Delaware.”


Governor Carney Signs Order Creating Uniform Anti-Discrimination Policy

Executive Order will result in a uniform policy by April 1

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Wednesday signed Executive Order Six, establishing a uniform anti-discrimination policy across state government.

Creation of a consistent anti-discrimination policy was a recommendation of the Action Plan for Delaware, the report submitted to Governor Carney by his Transition Team.

The executive order signed by Governor Carney on Wednesday calls for the creation of a new policy by April 1.

“I am committed to building a state government that is representative of all of the people we serve,” said Governor Carney. “It’s important that we root out both explicit and implicit acts of discrimination. This executive order is an important first step that will lead to a consistent process for identifying and eliminating discrimination across all agencies of state government.”

The uniform policy will include statewide anti-discrimination guidelines and complaint procedures to be followed by each Executive Branch Agency.

“Discrimination in any form is unacceptable, and this executive order is a critical first step to making sure that happens,” said Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “We must do everything in our power to uplift and support an environment of equality, tolerance and fairness and prevent discrimination and racism from happening.”

“Today, with the signing of this executive order, our State takes a positive step forward,” said Hanifa Shabazz, President, Wilmington City Council and Chair of the Delaware Black Caucus. “We applaud Governor Carney for his commitment and action toward establishing a work environment where individuals are treated with respect and dignity, free from harassment, discrimination, or retaliation. Today, also sends a strong message to the victims – those that came forward to file complaints and those that chose to remain silent – their voices have been heard and Delaware will be a better place to work because of them.”

“We must work to change the workplace culture in Delaware so it is one that promotes fair and equal opportunities as well as a safe place for those to share their opinion without fear of discrimination. I have hope that Governor Carney’s executive order will move us forward,” said State Representative Stephanie T. Bolden, D-Wilmington East, treasurer of the Delaware Black Caucus.