Virtual Museum of Public Service

Public Safety and Law Enforcement: B-3

“Understand, our police officers put their lives on the line for us every single day. They’ve got a tough job to do to maintain public safety and hold accountable those who break the law."

U.S. 44th President Barack Obama

Police officers, firefighters, and other public safety and law enforcement officers provide necessary services to the community and their work deeply connects them to the people they serve. Quite often, these professionals put their own safety in jeopardy to guard the safety and well-being of citizens, to protect their private property, and to guard vital institutions.

Public safety and law enforcement organizations include emergency management agencies, fire departments, rescue services, emergency medical technicians, departments of motor vehicles who administer driver’s licenses and conduct vehicle inspections, and animal control units. Employees of these organizations come face to face with the daily conflicts and crimes that occur on the streets of our cities and neighborhoods. These vary from littering and noise pollution to property damage, trespassing, burglary, domestic violence and other forms of improper social behavior. In the United States, The Department of Homeland Security is the federal agency responsible for public safety and for federal emergency services rendered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA works proactively to mitigate the impact of disasters such as earthquakes, floods and hurricanes.

Public safety and law enforcement officers play an important role during natural and manmade disasters to save lives and support the stabilization of communities in difficult times when people are suffering from personal injury, or the loss of their relatives, homes and other valued possessions. Preparedness is an important aspect of their training. This enabled them to respond quickly and efficiently and to provide well-coordinated and effective incident support and disaster relief.

In the additional resources section to the right is a collection of related public service narratives "Ask me why I care,"under "Tell your story." They were curated by the University of Nebraska at Omaha College of Public Affairs and Community Service in a Public Service Stories Project. Project Co-Directors are Dr. Mary Hamilton and Ms. Rita Paskowitz. The collection includes videos and Suggested Assignments for Students.