What Does A Public Safety Officer Do?

Last Updated on May 11, 2022 by Fair Punishment Team

If you are a student or just in your town center regularly, then you will have most likely come across a public safety officer.

Despite seeing them regularly, do you really know what they do? Do they differ from regular police officers or even security guards? 

Continue reading to find a full in depth guide of the duties and responsibilities of a public safety officer,

Public safety officers have a duty to serve the public by providing services such as policing, rescue and firefighting.

Some safety officers will be employed by their local government agencies whilst others will work for larger organizations that require officers for crime prevention. 

Safety officers are trained professionals and will have law enforcement experience. They also tend to provide public safety services at universities and other state facilities.


The majority of agencies that hire these officers, employ people that have at least a high school diploma and prefer applicants who hold a college degree.

A further requirement for this position is that you need to complete police training or a basic law enforcement program.

The officer needs to be physically fit and will have to pass extensive background checks along with psychological testing. Officers will also need to be able to problem-solve, be able to make logical decisions and focus on details. 


Duties as a public safety officer include monitoring traffic and patrolling certain areas to help prevent criminal activity.

Officers will have the power to issue citations to drivers that are speeding, drunk driving and illegal parking. When on traffic patrol, the officer may be asked to provide back up assistance to other officers in the area.

A further duty of a public safety officer is to respond to emergencies such as fires, car accidents and hostage situations. The officer will work with emergency personnel to control crowds and investigate the accident.

As a precautionary for this type of scenario, multiple departments will teach officers how to use basic first aid, CPR and medical resuscitators.

Therefore any public safety officer at the scene of an incident will be sufficiently prepared to deal with any eventuality.

The full list of public safety officer responsibilities

  • Patrolling designated areas and responding to calls.
  • Investigating suspicious incidents.
  • Securing and recording evidence.
  • Apprehending suspects and perpetrators.
  • Preparing accident and crime reports.
  • Providing support to police officers. 
  • Ensuring the safety and security of people and property.
  • Directing traffic and restoring order at public gatherings.

Court appearances 

As well as being out protecting the public, safety officers also have a duty to make court appearances. At these appearances, officers will need to testify if they had been the arresting officer during the incident. 

When a citation has been issued to someone, the person who received this citation either has to pay the fine or appear in court. The officer who issued the citation would have to go before the judge and give an explanation as to why he or she charged the person with the crime.

The public safety officer will often have to testify as a witness if they were the first one to report an incident.

Those officers that work at universities or other large companies such as hospitals, have to monitor the activity in the buildings. In particular, the activity at lobbies and parking decks.

Public safety officers at these buildings have a duty of care to protect the people who work and go to school in these buildings. Officers at these locations also enforce jurisdictional laws and regulations and even can arrest unruly individuals. 

Final thoughts

Although they do not carry as much responsibility or power as regular police officers, public safety officers perform several respectful duties that have the public’s first interests at heart.

Public safety officers will go the extra mile to help you with your day to day lives whilst at the same time, still offering sufficient protection from those who want to cause harm or disruption. 

Frequently asked questions

Is public safety considered law enforcement?

Public safety officers do have the power to be able to enforce the law. They can offer citations to those that are drunk driving or speeding and will report as back up to crime incidents. However, law enforcement is not entirely what they do as they intend to serve and assist the public also.

What is the difference between a security guard and an officer?

The first difference between a security guard and an officer is often the training that is required to become an officer. Officers will need police and law enforcement training whereas you need neither of these to become a security guard. 

Duties will also differ when it comes to a security guard as they will have to stay remote in one spot such as a shop, a bar or a nightclub, whereas officers will move around continuously throughout the day. This means that ultimately officers have more power and freedom in where they operate.

What jobs are considered public safety?

Jobs that are included within the public safety sector include a chief security officer, law enforcement officer, public safety officer, fire fighter, correctional officer, occupational health and safety specialist and many more. All these roles are designed to work in the best interests of public safety.