Public safety department

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Department of Public Safety)
Jump to: navigation, search
For the Canadian federal ministry, see Public Safety Canada.

In the United States, a public safety department or department of public safety (DPS), is a state or local government agency which serves to assist the certain agencies in their services by providing administrative, financial, and technical services and support for core public safety functions for some or all of the following:

In other countries and states, an equivalent might be known as the Ministry of the Interior or Department of Emergency Services. The United States Department of Homeland Security is the federal level department of public safety of the United States, which is responsible for federal emergency services via Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

United States[edit]

State level[edit]

In state governments in the United States, the DPS is usually a law enforcement agency synonymous with the state police. At local and special district levels, they may be all-encompassing. Examples of states having these include Texas, Minnesota, Tennessee, Arizona, Alabama, Oklahoma, and South Carolina. In many states the state police may be a subdivision of the DPS and not its own independent department.

List of state Departments of Public Safety[edit]

Local level[edit]

Many local jurisdictions (cities and counties), and special districts (schools and hospitals) have the umbrella configuration described above, in which the DPS is simply a joint administration of several distinct agencies. They may share administrative support staff and back-office functions, but sworn personnel remain specialized and have particular responsibilities (that is, the police continue to arrest people and the firefighters put out fires). The DPS of Cobb County, Georgia is one example.

However, a minority of jurisdictions have Departments of Public Safety which have primary and direct responsibility for all emergencies. In these unusual organizations, all full-time sworn personnel are cross-trained as police officers, firefighters and/or EMTs, and can respond to emergencies in any capacity. Although it is more expensive to hire, train and retain such personnel, they have a clear advantage in terms of their flexibility. They can respond as first responders to many rapidly evolving situations rather than waiting for the arrival of other specialized personnel.[1]

This configuration was more widely popular in the 1970s and 1980s in the United States, but has since gone out of style because relatively few cities have been able to execute it successfully because of manpower limitations in handling major incidents.

In a few California cities (the Pasadena-area suburb of Duarte, for example), the Department of Public Safety usually is restricted to code enforcement officers and/or animal control service agents(especially when those cities contract out for law enforcement with the county sheriff's office).

List of cities with Departments of Public Safety with fully cross-trained personnel[edit]














North Carolina

New Hampshire

New Mexico

New York



South Carolina







Bensenville, Illinois- A law passed in the State of Illinois recently forced Bensenville to give up its Public Safety program. The Bill, HB1368 (now Public Act 094-0720) stated in its synopsis "Amends the Illinois Municipal Code. Provides that a non-home rule municipality shall not assign a fireman to perform police duties or a policeman to perform firefighting duties. Prohibits a non-home rule municipality from administering fire and police department work assignments in a manner inconsistent with this requirement." Bensenville was the only municipality in Illinois to be affected. The Village of Bensenville believes this bill is in retaliation to Bensenville's long opposition to O'Hare Airport expansion, as the sponsors of the bill were Democrats from the City of Chicago, the main proponents of expansion.

Rest of the World[edit]

Country Ministry Head
Canada Canada Department of Public Safety Minister of Public Safety
 People's Republic of China Ministry of Public Security Minister of Public Security
Hong Kong Hong Kong, China Security Bureau Secretary for Security
Macau Macau, China Secretariat for Security Secretary for Security
Japan Japan National Public Safety Commission Chairman of the National Public Safety Commission
Jamaica Jamaica Ministry of National Security
Ministry of Justice
Ministry of Local Government and Community Development
Minister of National Security
Minister of Justice
Minister of Local Government and Community Development
Kenya Kenya Ministry for Internal Security and Provincial Administration Minister for Internal Security and Provincial Administration
Somalia Somalia Ministry of Interior and Security Minister of Interior and Security
South Korea South Korea Ministry of Public Administration and Security Minister of Public Administration and Security
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka Ministry of Home Affairs and Public Administration Minister of Home Affairs and Public Administration
United States United States Department of Homeland Security
Department of Justice
Secretary of Homeland Security
Attorney General
Vietnam Vietnam Ministry of Public Security Minister of Public Security

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Paul Harlow, "Glencoe's public safety services," Public Management 76, no. 6 (June 1994): 25-27.