North Carolina Department of Public Safety

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North Carolina Department of Public Safety
Agency overview
Jurisdiction State of North Carolina

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety is an umbrella agency that carries out many of the state's law enforcement, emergency response and homeland security functions. The department was created in 1977 as the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety. In 2012, 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.[1]

The department is headed by a Secretary of Public Safety, who is appointed by the Governor of North Carolina and is a member of the Cabinet.

Sections[edit]

The Department of Public Safety is broken into sections which cover a wide range of regulatory and law enforcement tasks.[2]

Section Responsibility
ABC Commission regulation of alcoholic beverage sales
Administration office of the Secretary of Public Safety and general administrative services
Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice administration of the state's prisons and juvenile detention facilities
Alarm Systems Licensing Board regulation of alarm system companies
Alcohol Law Enforcement enforcement of state laws for alcohol, tobacco, and other controlled substances, lottery and gambling laws, and the state Boxing Authority
Alcoholism and Chemical Dependency Programs substance abuse treatment services for inmates within the North Carolina prison system
Communications Office media relations
Community Corrections administer the state probation and parole programs
Correction Enterprises commercial arm of the Department of Corrections which sells inmate-produced goods and services
Emergency Management coordinate preparedness and response to a wide range of emergency situations, from chemical and nuclear accidents, to weather-related emergencies. Also oversees the state Civil Air Patrol
Governor's Clemency Office advises the Governor regarding pardons for convicted criminals
Governor's Crime Commission advises the governor on a wide range of crime issues, as well as administers various federal grant-based programs
Law Enforcement Services Section procurement for the states law enforcement agencies
North Carolina National Guard State militia
Parole Commission manages the state's parole and structured sentencing systems
Private Protective Services Board regulation of private security companies
North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation assist local, county, and state law enforcement agencies with criminal investigations
North Carolina State Capitol Police state security police charged with protection of state property and personnel
North Carolina State Highway Patrol highway safety and enforcement of state traffic laws
Victim Services provides financial reimbursement for medical expenses and other support services for crime victims

Juvenile facilities[edit]

The juvenile section has the following juvenile long-term commitment facilities, called "youth development centers":[3]

Secretaries[edit]

  • J. Phil Carlton, April 1977 to December 1978
  • Herbert L. Hyde, Jan. 1979 to August 1979
  • Burley B. Mitchell, August 1979 to January 1982
  • Heman R. Clark, Feb. 1982 to January 1985
  • Joseph W. Dean, January 1985 to May 1992
  • Alan V. Pugh, June 1992 to January 1993
  • Thurman B. Hampton, February 1993 to September 1995
  • Richard H. Moore, December 1995 to November 1999
  • David E. Kelly, November 1999 to January 2001
  • Bryan E. Beatty, January 2001 to January 2009
  • Reuben F. Young, January 2009 - January 2013 (Secretary of Crime Control & Public Safety until 1 Jan. 2012; Secretary of Public Safety thereafter)
  • Kieran Shanahan, January 2013 - July 2013
  • Frank L. Perry, August 2013 – December 2016
  • Erik A. Hooks, January 2017 – present[4]

Controversy[edit]

Over the recommendations of the prison staff, a private maintenance contract with the Keith Corporation and the manner in which the contract was renewed resulted in an FBI investigation as reported by the Raleigh News & Observer.[5]

At the prison located in Tabor City, NC, as reported by WECT in February 2014, the new Administrator was accused of forcing employees to pay the new Administrator for promotions through an Administrator-designed "fundraising" campaign. According to WECT, "still, an October e-mail sent by Prison Administrator Patsy Chavis to staff reads, "We cannot require anyone to pay...however supervisors need to be encouraged to participate... Please let me know if you encounter any resistance or unwillingness to pay.".[6] After an internal investigation lasting only a few weeks, the state found no "wrongdoing" in the fundraising effort, but halted the program, until "state prison administrators and auditors can develop formal policy guidelines for employee fundraising activities.".[7]

Another issue at the same prison, in February 2014, was the death of a 39-year-old inmate, in which an autopsy was needed to determine the cause of death. The cause of death was reported as having been natural causes,[8] however, a WECT report dated July 30, 2015 revealed that the cause of death was “methanol toxicity” from a concoction of chemical including hand sanitizer that the inmate drank.[9] According to the same news report, the department of public safety conducted an investigation, "but the results aren’t public record."

In June 2017, the Charlotte Observer launched a series of articles that found a hidden world of drugs, sex and gang violence – much of it fueled by employees within the prison system. As a result of these articles, the North Carolina General Assembly has direct state prison leaders to turn over information about contraband, hiring practices and employee misconduct. Another article covered how tax dollars were used to fund drugs, cell phones and abuse in the prison system[10] An additional story found that the "staff shortages in North Carolina’s prisons have climbed to dangerous levels over the past two years"[11]

The News and Observer of Raleigh reported that the 5 deaths of officers in 2017 may have been prevented "Better staffing might have saved the lives of the five prison employees who died in attacks this year at two Eastern North Carolina prisons, experts and officers told the Observer."[12]

After its review, the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public Safety could make recommendations to the full legislature before it convenes for the 2018 session in May 2018.[13]

References[edit]

External links[edit]