A public safety department or department of public safety (DPS), also called an Office of Public Safety, is a state or local government umbrella agency in the United States 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:
Fire and rescue services: includes fire prevention and suppression, all types of rescue services and HAZMAT response.
Most local jurisdictions (cities and counties), and special districts (schools and hospital) 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.
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
Chickasaw Department of Public Safety
Hoonah Dept. Of Public Safety
Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport Department of Public Safety
Fairbanks International Airport Department of Public Safety
Rohnert Park Dept. Of Public Safety
Sunnyvale Department Of Public Safety
City Of Greenacres Dept. Of Public Safety
Daytona Beach Shores Dept. Of Public Safety
Indian River Shores Public Safety Dept.
Jupiter Island Public Safety Department
Mexico Beach Dept. Of Public Safety
North Palm Beach Public Safety Department
Palm Springs Public Safety Department
South Bay Public Safety Department
Aiken Department of Public Safety
Bainbridge Department of Public Safety
Grovetown Dept of Public Safety
Harlem Department of Public Safety
Social Circle Department of Public Safety
Rosemont Department of Public Safety
Glencoe Dept of Public Safety
Whitestown Dept of Public Safety
Fort Wayne International Airport Dept of Public Safety
Nashville International Airport Department of Public Safety
Waverly Department of Public Safety
Dalworthington Gardens Department of Public Safety
Health Department of Public Safety
Highland Park Department of Public Safety
Southlake Department Of Public Safety
Woodway Public Safety Dept.
Ivins Police Department
Orem Department Of Public Safety
Santa Clara Department of Public Safety
Steilacoom Dept. Of Public Safety
Ashwaubenon Dept. Of Public Safety
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.