The Secretariat of Public Safety and Homeland Security is comprised of eleven public safety agencies that help enhance the quality of Virginia’s citizens, visitors and businesses of the Commonwealth through public awareness, education, training, emergency response, disaster preparedness, prevention, policy development, enforcement, response, recovery and reentry.
The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) administers ABC laws with an emphasis on public safety by ensuring an orderly and regulated system for convenient sales and responsible consumption of alcohol. Virginia ABC generates a reliable stream of revenue for the Commonwealth through the collection of taxes on beer and wine sales, violation penalties, license fees, and the sale of distilled spirits at more than 375 ABC stores.
The Commonwealth's Attorneys' Services Council is an executive branch state agency responsible for coordinating and providing training, education, and services for Virginia's prosecutors. The 120 elected Commonwealth's Attorneys and their approximately 650 Assistants statewide depend on Council-sponsored training programs to meet the annual mandatory continuing legal education (MCLE) requirements mandated by the Virginia State Bar to maintain their licenses to practice law.
The Virginia Department of Corrections is a model correctional agency that currently oversees the housing of 33,000 offenders and the supervision of over 58,000 offenders in the community. Virginia's recidivism rate is the lowest in its history and the second lowest in the nation at 22.8%. The Department is also an innovative leader through the application of cutting edge research-based programs to improve offender transition success. These outstanding results are made possible by the employees of the Department who are committed to the highest professional standards and excellence in public service.
The Department of Criminal Justice Services provides comprehensive planning and state-of-the-art technical and support services for the criminal justice system to improve and promote public safety in the Commonwealth. The Department of Criminal Justice Services is charged with planning and carrying out programs and initiatives to improve the effectiveness and functions of the criminal justice system as a whole.
The Department of Emergency Management protects the lives and property of Virginia's citizens from emergencies and disasters through emergency preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery efforts. The Department of Emergency Management coordinates the state's emergency response efforts by working with local, state and federal partners, as well as private, nonprofit and volunteer organizations.
The Department of Fire Programs strives to be the internationally recognized and trusted leader in providing fire and emergency services support to communities throughout Virginia. It delivers funding, professional development, public fire and life safety education, research, operational support, advocacy, and technical assistance. The Virginia Department of Fire Programs provides programs and services to the citizens of all Virginia towns, cities and counties as well as more than 770 fire departments and approximately 40,000 firefighters.
The Department of Forensic Science is a nationally accredited forensic laboratory system serving all state and local law enforcement agencies, medical examiners, and Commonwealth's Attorneys in Virginia. The Department's examiners provide technical assistance and training, evaluate and analyze evidence, interpret results, and provide expert testimony related to the full spectrum of physical evidence recovered from crime scenes.
The Department of Juvenile Justice protects the public through a balanced approach of accountability and comprehensive services that prevents and reduces juvenile delinquency through partnerships with families, schools, communities, law enforcement and others, while providing opportunities for delinquent youth to become responsible and productive citizens. The Department is responsible for the operation of Court Service Units that work with the judiciary and the Correctional Centers that provide physical security as well as discipline and treatment for wards committed to their care by the judiciary.
The Department of Military Affairs plans, coordinates, maintains situational awareness and employs forces for homeland security and homeland defense in order to respond to any incidents within the Commonwealth. On order of the Governor, the Department of Military Affairs will provide capabilities to assist civil authorities in protecting life and property, preserving peace, order and public safety. The Virginia Defense Force, the Virginia Air National Guard and the Virginia Army National Guard all fall under the Department of Military Affairs.
The Virginia Parole Board is responsible for determining who is to be released on discretionary parole. The Board takes into consideration many factors to determine whether an individual is suitable for release back into the community. The Board is cognizant of their responsibility to both the individuals being considered for Parole and the citizens of the Commonwealth to best ensure the safety of society.
The Virginia State Police, independent yet supportive of other law enforcement and criminal justice agencies, provides high quality, statewide law enforcement services to the people of Virginia and our visitors. With 75 years of service to the citizens of the Commonwealth, the men and women of this statewide agency strive to fulfill their public safety mission while improving the quality of life for those living, working and visiting in Virginia.