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Public Safety Officers Explained: Roles, Duties, and Training

There are over 55,000 public safety officers in the United States alone. Their job is to keep the public safe, and they’re always in high demand. Have you considered becoming or hiring a public safety officer?

You may be wondering what exactly a public safety officer is. What do they do? How do you even become one? 

We’re here to answer all of those questions and more. Read on to learn all about public safety officers. 

What Is a Public Safety Officer? 

A public safety officer is someone who protects people and property, in the broadest sense of the word. They patrol their assigned areas and provide emergency services (or find someone else who can) when the need arises. 

In some places, “public safety officer” is an umbrella term. This term includes roles like police officers and firefighters who should also be committed to public safety. It also includes roles like security guards, animal control, and more. 

So in short, it’s anyone who devotes their career to public safety. Often, however, when you see someone referred to as a public safety officer, they’re not working in a police or fire department. They generally work in schools or other establishments in more of a “security guard” role. 

Where Do Public Safety Officers Work?

Public safety officers can work in a variety of places! 

Some work in police or fire departments. They may have hands-on roles or roles as dispatchers or investigators rather than being out “in the field.” Others are first responders.

Some work in customs or border protection. They make sure nothing and no one dangerous is coming into the country. Some also work in parking enforcement

Many end up working in public schools, private schools, and even universities. Unfortunately, schools can be dangerous places for students and teachers alike. Public safety officers are there to keep the peace on campus and protect students and workers from potential outside threats. 

In short, there’s no “one” thing that public safety officers do or one place where they work. They’re trying to create a safe environment for the public wherever they are. Whether that’s on a school campus, in a police department, or elsewhere, they’re doing important work for public safety. 

How do You Become a Public Safety Officer? 

So how does one become a public safety officer anyway?

Because this is such an open role, there are many different ways to pursue it. It’s common for people to volunteer with a fire department right out of high school, or join the police academy. 

If you know that you’re interested in the public safety field, but you aren’t sure exactly what you want to do, a degree in public safety is a great place to start. The degree will prepare you for a variety of roles in the public safety sphere. This will give you a well-rounded education that looks good to employers but won’t lock you down in one specific sector of public safety. 

You could also go to school for criminal justice, law, chemistry, or even engineering. You’d be surprised at the different types of knowledge that can help you in this field. 

Most entry-level roles in public safety have no degree requirements, but you may need a degree or certification in order to move up to a better position. 

Is a Public Safety Officer the Same as a Police Officer? 

Public safety officers and police officers are not the same, or at least, they don’t have to be. As we mentioned before, in some cases, “public safety officer” is an umbrella term that includes police officers, but you won’t be a police officer by default if you pursue public safety.

If you decide to become a public safety officer, you may also decide that you’d like to join the police force. Being a police officer has many benefits, including career longevity and the ability to make a significant difference in your community, but it’s not the only career option.

As we mentioned before, public safety officers can work in a variety of places and fields. Becoming a police officer is only one option of many. 

If you have a long-term goal of becoming a police officer, starting as a public safety officer is a good option. You’ll be able to see if the law enforcement field is for you, or if you’d rather use your skills in a different type of position. While the careers are different, they carry many of the same goals and responsibilities and require similar skill sets. 

Being a public safety officer can give you a serious boost if you choose to join the police force in the future, but it also broadens your options. 

Public Safety Officers Keep the World Safer 

There are so many roles that one can fill as a public safety officer, but all of them have one thing in common: they keep the public safer. It’s an important job, and it’s one that you really have to have a passion for if you want to do it well. 

At 10-8 Systems, we strive to create products that can help public safety officers do their jobs even better. We’re bringing public safety into the digital age. 

Learn more about our powerful public safety software today.


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