History

Law Enforcement Support Services started in 1994 with a grant from the Governor's Crime Commission. The mission was to obtain excess property from the Department of Defense and give it to law enforcement agencies throughout North Carolina.

The General Assembly funded LESS in 1996 with $200,389 and an authorized strength of four. Since the beginning through April 2008, LESS distributed $122,356,018 in items to agencies in all 100 counties. Items include cars, pickups, trucks, motorcycles, helicopters, boats, body armor, clothing, field gear, night vision equipment, weapons, computers and accessories, and many other kinds of things useful for law enforcement work.

By 2002, LESS had moved from its beginning in a three-room second floor office to a 30,000 square foot warehouse to provide better service to its law enforcement customers. The 2007-08 budget was $383,948, of which $161,778 was non-recurring, with an authorized strength of four.

In 1995 LESS received grants from the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the GCC to pilot a program to enable state and local agencies to purchase items from the Department of Defense and the General Services Administration at the Federal price points. LESS, along with two other states, established the national program. At the expiration of the grants, LESS continued to operate the Law Enforcement Procurement program without additional funds.

Agencies purchase film, body armor, weapons, vehicles, fuel, helicopter parts and many other items.  Purchases for the first 10 months of fiscal year 2007-08 were $1,309,558 with an average savings of 25%.

In 1996 a statewide working group on drug task forces issued a clear call for equipment that could be used on a short-term basis. The GCC provided a grant to purchase equipment and outfit undercover vehicles that were obtained through the Excess Property program, the Governor?s Highway Safety Program provided a grant for light sets for traffic checks and other equipment, and LESS began the Loan Program. Since 2000, agencies have used LESS vehicles and equipment and reported 4,053 arrests, seizure of $238,777 in cash, and $1,946,302 in other items. This program has been operated without additional funds.

On September 13, 2001, LESS was asked to obtain excess property for use by law enforcement agencies working the scene in New York City. By September 15, LESS had obtained two tractor-trailers full of items and had them at the World Trade Center site. This evolved into an agreement to provide similar support in case of other Weapons of Mass Destruction events. This program was funded by the Office for Domestic Preparedness beginning in 2002.  LESS deployed to New Orleans after Katrina and issued boots, blankets, clothing, sleeping bags, generators and other items valued at $419,000 to the New Orleans Police Department.  The Federal funding was terminated shortly thereafter but LESS continued to maintain a contingency stock of items and the means to deliver them for disasters, natural or man-made, in North Carolina.

In 2011, the name was changed to Law Enforcement Services Section.

LESS continues to assist law enforcement agencies throughout North Carolina become more effective by being responsive to their needs.