Community College Law Enforcement Degree With A Twist

by A Guest Author

Community College Law Enforcement Emergency Response TeamThinking about majoring in law enforcement at community college? The good part about attending community college is that you get the chance to explore other options.

This post will give you insight to a newly developing field that you may want to consider as a law enforcement major in community college...

While you may not have yet realized in your career research that there is a natural synergy between law enforcement and emergency response, after the tragedy of 9/11, these two fields began to converge in a way that resulted in a new department called “Homeland Security.”

Consider A Degree In Emergency Management

Since that time, the fields have converged in a variety of ways regionally and locally as well, with law enforcement professionals often working closely with relief workers and emergency management professionals, often aided by the assistance of a consultant who can list expertise in both areas on their resume. There are abundant opportunities to gain entre into the exciting and fast unfolding field of what is now commonly called “emergency management.”

Whether you begin by attending community college first or by earning your fire science bachelors degree and then progress on to formally earn your master’s or you are on a career track in law enforcement with the police force, the Secret Service or other governmental agency and wish to transition to emergency management, learn here how each set of skills can translate surprisingly well to the other, and how combining both sets of aptitudes and interests can lead to both an interesting and fulfilling career.

Where to Apply These Skills

In addition to the federal department of Homeland Security, each state government maintains its own Emergency Management division, which serves as a point of contact with regional and local representatives throughout the state who respond to assistance requests, develop training and response procedures, conduct education and awareness events, and connect with the federal department as the need arises.

While to date some states have recorded higher incidences of disaster than others, including incidents with flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, drought, infectious disease, and pollutants, each state is working to put protocols in place to address these types of incidents and more.

You may, after obtaining your emergency management masters degree, find yourself involved in search and rescue attempts, emergency preparedness training and drills, oversight of telecommunications and operations, coordination of requests for assistance, and much more in the field of emergency management.

Depending on the nature of the incident, a background in law enforcement can come in particularly handy, whether it is to handle issues with crowd control, criminal behavior, emotional preparation, behavior modification, self defense training, coordination of tactical initiatives, and involvement in each of the four critical phases that occur in situations that require emergency management response: planning, response, recovery, mitigation.

The Path You Choose

There are several different career paths you can take from within the field of emergency management no matter which area you are coming from – law enforcement or emergency response. One of the most common job functions for an emergency management professional is called the “business continuity planner.” This professional often works as a consultant or in-house for a corporation or organization, putting in place procedures to help that organization make a quick recovery after any type of business interruption, whether disaster-related or otherwise.

Another similar position is the “emergency manager” and this professional oversees emergency management in all of its aspects from planning to training, employee drills, business or operations interruption protocols, and prevention. Many times you find emergency managers in government agencies at every level (federal, state, local) and also in educational institutions, businesses and non-profit organizations.

Yet another function you could fulfill as an emergency management professional is called an “emergency response specialist.” This role is perhaps the most highly visible and best-known role that emergency management professionals play, as these are the individuals who function to manage actual crisis situations.

However, as an emergency response specialist, you may or may not go out with the actual teams to handle the crisis or disaster. You may instead be overseeing the entire operation and have likely been involved for some time prior with developing response programs, training those teams and coordinating their efforts.

A similar role on a governmental level is the “emergency planner” and in this role you function solely from a training and program development perspective, often working together with emergency response specialists and other emergency management professionals to craft effective programs to mitigate the effects of disasters and other interruptions.

But, That’s Just the Beginning

These four major career paths represent only a faction of the actual job positions available in the field of emergency management. You can also choose to work for yourself as a consultant to many organizations and businesses, or to work on staff with a single organization or entity. This gives you enviable career flexibility and stability where you can balance your personal need for income and flexible work hours with benefits and other perks.

Image provided by Brian Imagawa from Flickr’s Creative Commons

Sergei Minoyae was originally studying to be a police officer, but after a forest fire came close to his Colorado hometown, opted to pursue emergency management instead. 

This post was written by A Guest Author

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