How are Public Safety and Law Enforcement Related?

Both public safety and law enforcement personnel work to meet the needs of the people. They go together in many aspects of the job. When you hear the term public safety, most people will think of Police officers. However, Fire Marshals and emergency service personnel are also public safety professionals. It is also true that public safety and law enforcement go hand in hand in many aspects of the job. Those in the field may also work together on several community projects.

Public safety and law enforcement also play an important role in times of natural and manmade disasters. Their goal is to save lives and stabilize communities in difficult times, especially when people are suffering. This can mean either personal injury, a loss of relatives, homes, or other valued possessions. 

Both public safety and law enforcement personnel create plans and budgets to meet the needs of the people. Others come face to face with hard decisions on a daily basis, such as conflicts and crimes that affect our cities and neighborhoods. Yet, there are emergency personnel who work primarily as emergency rescuers, such as those who find employment with FEMA or Homeland Security. Many public safety organizations and law enforcement agencies often work along with the criminal justice system as correctional officers as well.

What is the Relationship Between the Police and Public Safety?

So, the question remains, how are they related? Basically, if you are a police officer your job is law enforcement. However, you work for the Department of Public Safety. In fact, depending on which state or city you find employment in, many police vehicles will have the words “Department of Public Safety” written on the back of the police cruiser or SUV. Yet, there are public safety positions that do not relate to law enforcement, as a police officer will. For example, firefighters and emergency management professionals.

Job Outlook of the Public Safety Professional

To get a bigger picture of all public safety positions, below is a list of the most common positions: 

  • Police officers and/or Detectives
  • Emergency medical technicians 
  • Correctional officers 
  • K-9 unit service members
  • Firefighters/Fire Marshals
  • FEMA investigators
  • Cybercrime professionals

How Public Safety and Law Enforcement Personnel are Trained?

Depending on the field of study, there are many places to get the best training for a position with public safety. This also includes the education and knowledge needed to achieve a degree or certificate in the field. Both colleges and universities will provide access to several degree programs, as well as certifications and certificates in the field of public safety.

There are also online courses students can take that present a more appealing choice, especially for those already working in the field. Training for those in public safety may also include hands-on experience and foundational knowledge of the specific career path.  Now, let us look at the differences between public safety and law enforcement courses.

Course Curriculum for a Public Safety Degree

The courses for a public safety degree will first depend on what education level a student is applying for. For Associate degree programs, students will learn the basic or foundational background required for the field. Courses may include knowledge of the criminal justice system, understanding of investigation techniques, and a good skill set. For a bachelor’s degree level, courses are usually more career-focused.

The curriculum may include leadership attributes, professional practices associated with the field, and how to develop effective mitigation plans or policies related to public safety. Lastly, there is a master’s level in public safety. Those who choose this degree normally are looking for a specific area of interest. In most cases, it is designed for working public safety professionals, who want to improve leadership and managerial skills. Courses for the master of public safety may cover leadership in changing times, implementing emergency preparedness, and organizational management within public policies.

Courses for a Criminal Justice Degree

A law enforcement degree is simply called a criminal justice degree. No matter what educational level you choose, the courses are similar. However, the higher your academic level, the more intense courses will be. Those taking criminal justice as a major will consider this degree a worthy choice to meet their educational goals, as well as the training needed to become exceptional leaders in the public safety field.

Courses include a background of criminal justice in America, criminal forensics, victimology, and crime scene investigation. Some courses may also cover criminal law, cybercrime and technology, and counterterrorism. Just as mentioned above, many criminal justice degree graduates will find employment as police detectives, correctional officers, and CSI. Yet those with higher educational levels and years of trained experience will easily find employment with the NSA, Department of Homeland Security, and the FBI.