Public safety administration takes an essential place among social services dedicated to providing preventive measures and suspension of a public order violation. The basis of public safety organization comprises the emerged risks disturbing social stability and normal functioning of social institutes. Execution of functional obligations of a public safety organization in the USA connects with the line of external and internal risks, risks’ acceptability, caused changes of public safety resources, and the contribution of a risk management plan. These landmarks guide the public safety organization in its analysis and response to the social negative risks. The way of risks appearance and the Department of Public Safety response during the current time has corroborated that the risks influenced the efficiency of the public safety organization, which should improve the approach to risk management.
Description of the U.S. Department of Public Safety
The Department of Public Safety (DPS) is the decentralized government network of the agencies responsible for the prevention and reduction of a variety of the risks of fire, the necessity of urgent medical aid, crime, police intervention, disasters, calamities, traffic accidents, etc. The DPS has a well-developed and highly organized structure, comprising representatives on federal, state, and local levels. The community of each state has the appropriate system of public safety resources and agencies. DPS possesses the diversity of enforcement laws, preventive information provision, competent and qualified employees, rescue and fire services, ambulance, medical and police services, the lines of urgent communication, safety inspections, animal involvement, and licensing of the vehicles.
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The federal-level of public security is represented by the Department of Homeland Security, whose mission is devoted to the prevention of threats and accidents, protection of the nation, and the reduction of such risks (“Our Mission”, n.d.). The state level of public safety is ensured by the activity of numerous agencies collaborating with the state governments of each state and performing an examination of unsafety risks on the state level. The local community is ensured by the jurisdiction of DPS in cities, counties, schools, and other locations of special districts.
DPS is capable of preventing the appearance of risks, informing the community, protecting it from the negative consequences of unfavorable events, adequately and sufficiently responding to occurred changes in social life, and mitigating menaces and hazards. The risk analysis was carried out by DPS through its preparation to the annual conference devoted to the partnership of public and private sectors in 2014, collaboration with the national advertising campaign, provision of risk assessment, demonstration of risk-based initiatives in 2013, cooperation with specific representative governance of the national industries in 2013, and another preventive measurement (“Building Resilience”, 2014; “About the Ready Campaign”, 2013; “Written Testimony”, 2013).
In collaboration with the agency of secure transportation, the Federal Department of Homeland Security initiated the programs and procedures of risk screening and mitigating during the provision of transport services. This initiative was developed to promote risk security in airports and was based on the proper risk analysis of aircraft hijacking and crashes, failure of cargo facilities, etc. Moreover, all international transfer of the U.S. airports was engaged in the mentioned programs.
DPS accessibility to the community, spreading public safety initiatives, and detailed risk assessment are ensured through the activity of the Ready Company that examines potential risks and hazards due to the business analysis and appropriate critical processes (“Risk Assessment”, 2014). Hazards are considered by DPS through the development of probable scenarios that are based on timing as well as geographical and physical peculiarities of threats. Such scenarios serve as the background for forecasts, emergency plans, and risk management. Performing such preceding preventive measures, DPS strives to assess risks through the estimation of its vulnerability, including provision with employees, property, equipment, business procedures, regulatory, information, supply chain, technology, etc.
The Risks of the U.S. Department of Public Safety and the Level of Its Acceptability
The common types of risky situations that DPS faces comprise natural, human-caused, and technological threats. Willing and striving to reduce those risks, the organization analyzes and develops appropriate measurements and strengthens its capability at a steady pace. Nevertheless, DPS faces external and internal security risks. Safety security and opposition to terrorism, cybercrime, human-made accidents, transnational criminality, natural disasters, ineffective management of its resources, low business sustainability, and local inactivity are posed as potential risks for DPS. The level of their acceptance should be low, as the matter concerns national security, the well-being of numerous Americans, and their lives. The likelihood of the appearance of those risks is different and it depends on the external environment of each district, state, the whole country, and the world security. DPS takes a risk to deal with dangerous and threatening situations and people. Therefore, based on experience and security practice, the acceptability of unpredictable and unmanageable external risks is a little higher than internal risks. In turn, the majority of internal processes are manageable within the security network of DPS and, therefore, such risks have a low level of acceptance.
The Risks Faced by the U.S. Department of Public Safety and Their Outcome
In 2014, DPS decided to focus on the fixing of the immigration system, when the USA had to deal with the significant illegal immigration movements of undocumented people who had crossed land, air, and sea borders of the country (“Fact Sheet”, 2014). In this way, the country intended to reduce the risks of overpopulated cities, budget overstrain, homeland unemployment, terrorism acts, and social confrontation of multinational communities of the USA. The outcome was the strengthening of the national borders, revised security priorities, the inclusion of biometric data into the new enforcement program, improvement of personnel treatment and its compensation as well as expanded rules for child arrival, and so on.
The example of the state risk analysis and appropriate outcomes were demonstrated by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety in 2014. The state faced a risk of road accidents owing to the growing number of cases of unlicensed, distractive, or drunken driving (Volpe, 2014; Collins, 2015). Therefore, the local representative of DPS carried out a risk analysis based on a telephone survey that showed that the majority of the Minnesotans had estimated the risk of road accidents as high over drinking driving, speeding, and driving without a seatbelt (Corona Insights, 2014). According to these findings, the Minnesota DPS has toughened the DWI laws, proclaiming the high responsibility and strengthening the usage of interlock devices for intoxicated drivers or those under alcohol or drugs influence.
Faced with numerous cybercriminals related to critical infrastructure from the beginning of the 2000s, DPS has focused its efforts on cyber security of all information systems of the national governance institutions to ensure national and economic safety and security. Special emphasis on digital infrastructure security was declared by President Obama in 2009. The outcome of the appearance of such a risk was the strengthening of the partnership with the U.S. private sector to provide cyber security, development of a cyber-safety framework to reduce virtual threats, implementation of the protective programs for the resilience of critical infrastructure, etc. (“Executive Order”, 2013).
Along with external risks, DPS faces threats related to internal resources, namely susceptible human resources. The U.S. DPS and all its state and local divisions experience the risks of occupational disease, mortality, high level of stress and anxiety, psychological disorders, and other consequences of the job peculiarities. According to these risks, homeland security suffers from the inability of DPS employees to withstand long working hours or dangerous job conditions (Vila, 2006; Kales et al., 2009). Therefore, DPS tries to reduce the risks of its employees’ safety through their compliance to safety regulations, the wearing of safety tools (uniform, mask, weapon, etc.), development of workplace and compensation plans, training programs, and career opportunities.
The Changes of the Organization’s Public Safety Resources That Would Eliminate or Reduce the Risk
DPS requires human resources, facilities, the systems of fire protection, pollution control, and life safety, equipment, communication, materials, warning technologies, funds, information, expertise, and supplies. These resources are used in various areas of public safety. They also allow eliminating and reducing the risks of hazards. Availability and accessibility of public safety resources reflect the ability of a rescue team (ambulance, police, firefighters, etc.) to prevent a threat and save lives. Changes in the resource potential of DPS would change the quality and quantity of its services. Contractile changes lead to increased risks, while reinforced changes eliminate or reduce risks.
Employees provide the emergence response to risky situations or accidents threatening to the nation. Enlargement and augmentation of emergence teams would ensure the community with trained and competent people capable of handling dangers, providing first aid, protecting from violence, stopping a crime, etc. The more DPS employee or volunteers around the public places are, the less some risk may appear.
Risk reduction would be provided by the increase of public safety facilities. If the local community has more shelter areas for protection, the number of victims and the risk of panic would be decreased. Increasing the number of rescue facilities would ease the work of the emergence team and eliminate the risk of the appearance of new sufferers. The systems used for emergency response are vital for a rescue team. The increased quantity and renewal of these systems would help DPS employees control and overcome accidents and incidents in a short time, reduce the risk of property damage, and prevent criminality risks.
The equipment and materials of the emergency team are the tools for the elimination and reduction of risks. The increase and diversity of this safety toolset enable the DPS employees to determine the cause and consequences of a threat, prevent its appearance, and protect human lives. For example, ambulances should be equipped with modern and diversified tools for the adequate and quick saving of lives. Police teams should have qualitative weapons to save a potential victim or themselves and neutralize a criminal.
Funding is an essential part of the organization of DPS and its opportunity to reduce the risks of hazards. Proper and regular financing of public safety would allow the emergency team to perform required responsibilities with greater quality and promptly. The changes in funding should move to the increasing dynamics and steady pace to ensure the appropriate safety of the nation. Funding changes precede the shifts in DPS supplements.
DPS Risk Management Plan
As any organization constantly and regularly deals with a higher likelihood of the appearance of risks, DPS develops the plan for regulation and management of risk (“Risk Management Fundamentals”, 2011). This document does not allow the organization to determine its actions in case of risky situations only, but also to improve the performance in an unpredictable environment. In addition to the risk management plan, DPS develops risk assessments and explores the ways of risk mitigation separately. DPS Risk Management Plan focuses on the identification of homeland risks, examination of risk management fundamentals, determination of the sources of risk, involvement of best business practices, risk analysis, and implementation of the measures to reduce or eliminate hazardous risks. Nevertheless, the plan of risk management should be added by detailed practical alternatives, an indication of operational supported tangibles and facilities, and demanding financial sheets for its implementation.
The special organization acting on federal, state, and local levels protects public safety in the USA. Numerous risks faced by the Department of Public Safety require diversified actions directed at the reduction and elimination of hazardous risks. External and internal risks of DPS create the basis for expanded and active involvement in all public areas. Risk mitigation would be contributed by the enlargement and augmentation of DPS facilities. To identify and influence hazardous risks properly, the organization develops a Risk Management Plan devoted to the accurate preparation for public safety.