North Carolina State Government - Cabinet Departments (2019)

North Carolina Department of Public Safety

Mission Statement: To improve the quality of life for North Carolinians by reducing crime and enhancing public safety.

  Erik A. Hooks
Year Established: 2012
Phone Number: (919) 733-2126
Current Website:
Click Here
Number of Employees: 26,000 + 12,000 in NC National Guard Number of Facilities: HQ + Many Others

512 North Salisbury Street
Raleigh, NC 27604

The Department of Public Safety Includes:

The Department of Public Safety (DPS) focuses citizen and legislative attention on law enforcement and public safety issues, such as the supervision of offenders in prison or in juvenile detention centers and in community supervision, drinking and driving, underage access to alcohol and tobacco, the proper use of child safety seats, crime prevention and preparation for natural disasters.

In addition to natural disasters, the department is constantly updating plans and providing training for local officials to respond to emergencies such as terrorism, communicable diseases, nuclear power plant incidents and civil unrest.

This agency serves as the coordinating agency for North Carolina's homeland security preparedness. It also oversees the North Carolina National Guard.

North Carolina National Guard - is an all volunteer force of nearly 12,000 soldiers and airmen who serve in both federal and state capacities.

The Guard is first a federal reserve of the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force subject to the call of the President of the United States to provide units that are manned, trained, equipped, and available on short notice to perform national defense missions.

The Guard maintains the same high standards for training as the Army and the Air Force so that it can mesh seamlessly with their active-duty counterparts in times of national emergency both at home and abroad. To maintain readiness for its wartime mission, Guard soldiers are trained and equipped with the military's most up-to-date weapons and aviation systems.

The Guard is also on call at the Governor's request to protect life and property and to preserve peace, order and public safety on the state level.

As part of its peacetime mission, the Guard assists the public in times of emergency such as after hurricanes, floods or tornadoes. Guard aviation units support local governments in searching for missing persons, assisting law enforcement personnel with aerial searches for marijuana, and fighting forest fires. In addition, the National Guard participates in local communities with programs that add value to families, employers and neighborhoods.

Law Enforcement - The states' four main law enforcement agencies are ready to respond quickly to meet the public's diverse safety needs: crime prevention, highway assistance, criminal investigations, civil unrest, terrorism or natural disasters. Agencies include the State Highway Patrol, State Capitol Police, State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), and Alcohol Law Enforcement.
Emergency Management - Natural disasters, epidemics and terrorist acts do not respect boundaries and go beyond the capabilities of any stakeholder group to manage. This diverse community of responsibility must embrace the ideals of cooperation, interoperable communications and shared resources for optimum protection, prevention, response and recovery in times of crisis.
- Criminal Offender Searches - Offender Public Information Search, Automated System Query, North Carolina Statewide Automated Victim Assistance and Notification (SAVAN), Sex Offender Registry, Interstate Compact Offender Tracking, Law Enforcement Search

Other Services:

- Grants - administers federal criminal justice block grants through the Governor's Crime Commission and homeland security grants through the Division of Emergency Management.

- Victim Services - reimburses citizens who suffer medical expenses and lost wages as a result of being an innocent victim of a crime committed in North Carolina. Victims of rape, assault, child sexual abuse, domestic violence, and drunk driving, as well as the families of homicide victims are eligible to apply for financial help.

- Crime Data - North Carolina crime statistics are reports submitted to the State Bureau of Investigation from law enforcement agencies across the state. The SBI provides the collection of data as part of the Uniform Crime Reporting Program, a nationwide effort administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

- Crime Prevention For Businesses - Bad Checks, Burglary Prevention, Credit Card Fraud, Fraud & Con Games, Employee Theft, Robbery Prevention, Shoplifting Prevention, Workplace Violence

- Crime Prevention for Home Security - Neighborhood Watch, Bicycle Theft, Vehicle Theft

- Adult Correction - sentences range from probation served in the community to active prison sentences served in one of the state's prison facilities. After prison, there is a period of post-release supervision for offenders to help them transition more successfully back to the community.

- Juvenile Justice - if a child is 15 years old or younger and commits a crime, his or her case will be handled by the juvenile justice staff. This staff is committed to the reduction and prevention of juvenile delinquency by effectively intervening, educating and treating youth in order to strengthen families and increase public safety.

- Center for Safer Schools - serves as the state's primary point of contact on issues dealing with school safety and the prevention of youth violence.

- Civil Air Patrol -The NC Wing of the Civil Air Patrol provide search and rescue, disaster relief, emergency service, and homeland security missions. North Carolina members perform many Air Force assigned search and rescue missions each year. North Carolina Wing maintains a post at the state’s Emergency Operations Center to provide rapid response during natural disasters, and North Carolina members have been deployed to other states for assistance.

Department of Public Safety Boards & Commissions:

- Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission
- Governor's Crime Commission
- State Emergency Response Commission
- Post-Release Supervision & Parole Commission
- Alarm Systems Licensing Board
- Private Protective Services Board
- Inmate Grievance Resolution Board

The Department of Public Safety is authorized by General Statute 143B, Article 13, Paragraph 143B-600:

"(a) There is established the Department of Public Safety. The head of the Department of Public Safety is the Secretary of Public Safety, who shall be known as the Secretary.

(b) The powers and duties of the deputy secretaries, commissioners, directors, and the divisions of the Department shall be subject to the direction and control of the Secretary of Public Safety, except that the powers and duties of the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission shall be exercised independently of the Secretary, in accordance with G.S. 18B-200."

Click Here to view the entire Statute, which describes in greater detail all of the functions of the Department of Public Safety.

History of the Department of Public Safety:
The department was created in 1977 as the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety. In 2011, the North Carolina Department of Correction and the North Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention were merged with Crime Control & Public Safety to create the new agency called the Deparment of Public Safety, which was effective on January 1, 2012.
The North Carolina Department of Crime Control and Public Safety was created by the 1977 General Assembly and is the newest executive department of state government. House Bill 119 of the 1977 session, which became Article II of Chapter 143B of the General Statutes, created the department by transferring law enforcement and public safety agencies from the former Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, the
Department of Transporation, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Natural Resources and Community Development.

The statutory duties of the department are to provide law enforcement and emergency services to protect against crime and against natural and man-made disasters, to serve as the state's chief coordinating agency to control crime and protect the public, to assist local law enforcement and public safety agencies, and to work for a more effective and efficient criminal justice system. In addition, the department is charged with coordinating state response to any emergency when that emergency requires the response of more than one sub-unit of state government. The 1980 session of the 1979 General Assembly amended Chapter 143B to give the department the authority to direct the allocation of any or all available state resources, from any state agency, to respond to an emergency.

The department is headed by an Executive Secretary appointed by the Governor. The Secretary has appointed an Assistant Secretary for Crime Control who has advisory responsibilities over the Highway Patrol, the Alcohol Law Enforcement Division and the Governor's Crime Commission Division; an Assistant Secretary for Public Safety who oversees the Emergency Management Division and the Civil Air Patrol; and an Assistant Secretary for Administration who supervises the department's personnel, fiscal and purchasing activities.

In addition to his regular duties, the Assistant Secretary for Public Safety is the head of the State Emergency Response Team (SERT). The SERT can be dispatched to the scene of any emergency to direct state response to that emergency. The organization of the SERT is flexible so that it may be composed of representatives of any agency which is required to respond to a specific emergency.
Immediately above comes from Page 591 of the 1981 North Carolina Manual, with minor edits.

Past Secretaries of the Deparment of Public Safety



Erik A. Hooks

2017 to Present

Frank L. Perry


Kieran Shanahan


Reuben F. Young

2012 - 2013

Past Secretaries of the Department of Crime Control & Public Safety



Reuben F. Young

2009 - 2012

Bryan E. Beatty

2001 - 2009

David E. Kelly

1999 - 2001

Richard H. Moore

1995 - 1999

Thurman B. Hampton

1993 - 1999

Alan V. Pugh

1992 - 1993

Joseph W. Dean

1985 - 1992

Herman R. Clark

1982 - 1985

Burley Bayard Mitchell, Jr.

1979 - 1982

Herbert L. Hyde


J. Philip Carlton

1977 - 1979

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