A public safety officer is responsible for the safeguarding of people and property. They may help keep citizens out of harm’s way or ensure the security of important assets. However, the specific job responsibilities of a public safety officer can vary depending on their place of work.
If you are considering a career in public safety, know that you are choosing a very important path. Public safety officers help those around them live, play, and work in a safe and secure environment. They provide people with a sense of assurance and confidence. And, as a result, they are both valued and respected by their communities and organizations.
Still, you may be wondering, what does a public safety officer do specifically? What are the daily responsibilities you can expect on the job? These are important questions to ask as you weigh a future profession, to ensure the role aligns with your interests and goals.
What Does a Public Safety Officer Do?
In general, public safety officers can be found patrolling their communities or designated watch areas, responding to emergencies, investigating suspicious behavior, enforcing laws and regulations, and preparing incident reports. Public safety officers also help safeguard people and property from crimes like theft, as well as fires and natural disasters. They are usually in close communication with local fire departments, police forces, and rescue squads and may respond to their calls, too. Some public safety officers can arrest and detain criminals. Some can carry firearms, though it is rare. (In fact, this is often what distinguishes a public safety officer from a police officer.) Of course, all of this varies by employer and jurisdiction, as well as licensing and training.
Below are some of the common job duties you can expect as a public safety officer:
- Patrol your designated area (such as a university, gated community, hospital, or business)
- Inspect facilities to identify potential safety hazards
- Monitor facility via technology, to be alert of any situations that may require security
- Provide security for special events
- Respond to emergency calls, such as for theft, break-ins, or other crimes
- Respond to calls from EMS, Fire, and Police
- Administer first aid and CPR when needed
- Investigate suspicious activity or behavior
- Interview suspects
- Apprehend suspects or arrest criminals
- Prepare investigative reports
- Enforce laws and regulations
- Issue citations for violations
- Communicate with and dispatch law enforcement, fire department, and emergency medical services personnel when needed
- Provide testimony in criminal cases
- Stay up-to-date on weapon training
Different Types of Public Safety Officers
- As noted above, the specific responsibilities of a public safety officer depend on where you work. Below are common examples of workplace environments for public safety officers:
- Colleges and universities
- Boarding schools
- High schools
- Nursing homes
- Residential rehabilitation centers
- Banks and financial institutions
- Large offices and corporations
- Gated communities
- Government agencies, such as the Department of Public Safety in your state
Depending on where you work, your job duties will be tailored to the people or the property you are protecting. For example, public safety officers that work on a college campus will respond to emergency calls from students and faculty, monitor the campus for potential threats, provide first aid to students in need, and ensure students are following the school regulations.
Public Safety Officer Job Description Example
If you are considering applying for a public safety job, you will want to ensure you meet the proper qualifications. Knowing what employers expect of you can help you prepare for a career in this important line of work. To help get you started, we’ve included an example of a public safety officer job description for a college or university below.
We are seeking a dedicated public safety officer to ensure the safety and security of our campus, faculty, and students. As a campus public safety officer, you will be responsible for patrolling the campus and facilities, monitoring suspicious behavior and activity, responding to emergencies that arise, and enforcing campus policies among students. To be successful in this role, we request that you meet the following qualifications:
- Have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as public safety
- Have knowledge of laws and law enforcement practices
- Work well with people and have strong communication skills
- Are highly attentive and observant, with the ability to detect abnormal activity
- Possess strong decision-making skills, and are capable of judgment in difficult situations
- Have good problem-solving skills, to help mitigate issues that arise on campus
- Can maintain good composure in stressful or emergency situations
- Will demonstrate leadership in times of need and crisis
- Possess experience in investigative reporting and analysis
- Have prior experience with industry software such as ReACT and MOAB
Below are some of the responsibilities you will hold as a public safety officer on campus:
- Safeguard students and faculty from harm
- Respond to emergency calls on-campus
- Patrol the campus via foot, bike, and/or car
- Provide security and safety for campus events
- Investigate criminal activity that happens on campus
- Investigate accidents (such as motor vehicle accidents) that happen on-campus
- Monitor campus parking lots and issue citations as needed
- Communicate with local police, fire, and EMS departments in case of emergencies
- Assist in fire alarm and emergency response
- Aid in the development of emergency response plans for campus residents
- Write reports, briefings, and statements and issue to proper entities
- Serve as a trusted partner to students and faculty
Becoming a Public Safety Officer
Public safety officers are critical assets to organizations and communities. No matter where you work, individuals will trust you—and turn to you—in times of need. Therefore, there are many demands that come with the job. In addition to being physically capable of law enforcement duties, you must have the knowledge and tactical skill sets to carry out this career.
A public safety and security degree can be the ticket you need to thrive. Many organizations today require a bachelor’s degree among public safety officers. However, on top of that expectation, a bachelor’s in public safety can provide you with valuable skills, experience, and coursework that will prepare you for success.
Here are some examples of public safety classes you will take in part with your training:
- Criminal Procedures
- Criminal Justice and the Law
- Investigative Report Writing
- Public Policy and Analysis
- Cross-Cultural Psychology
- Risk Reduction through Environmental Design
- Research Methods in Public Safety
- Multiculturalism in Public Safety and Security
Are you ready to get started? If you desire a meaningful and gratifying career, where you can make an impact and protect your community, becoming a public safety officer is a great next step. You can begin your journey right here, in Connecticut, at Goodwin University. Explore Goodwin’s public safety degree program online today, or call 800-889-3282 to learn more.