Increased globalization of crime, the rise of social media and technology, the global shift in immigration patterns, natural disasters that cripple critical infrastructures, and higher expectations from the community have all led to an increasingly complex environment for public safety practitioners. Traditionally modeled as a paramilitary hierarchy, most public safety organizations have a relatively strict bureaucratic structure. Education levels in Canada are on the rise, with Statistics Canada showing that 11,782,700 or 64.1 percent of adults aged 25 to 64 had postsecondary qualifications in 2011. This is consistent with the expectations, at the entry-level, for increased education for public safety applicants.
By supporting an increase in the minimum standard entry level education, these organizations demonstrate a commitment to being reflective of the community demographics, and validation for practitioners with increased intellectual capacity and potential. When recruiting, organizations seek the best applicants, and postsecondary education is often a deciding factor between candidates; therefore, if post-secondary education is the expected entrance standard, it stands to reason that advanced postsecondary education is expected for senior-level public safety managers & leaders.
The complexity of public safety work requires practitioners to apply advanced skill sets to their current abilities; promotion through the organization based solely on experience and seniority is not sustainable. Through postsecondary education, practitioners can develop the soft and hard skills (i.e., behavioural and technical competencies) they require to serve the public and advance their careers. Competencies such as team building, communication, critical thinking and problem solving are all critical to individual and organizational success. This would also increase public confidence and enhance the image of professionalism for public safety organizations.
Much research has supported the nexus between higher education and organizational effectiveness; the Laurier Master of Public Safety program was developed to align these competencies within the framework of Public Safety Canada, meaning that the skill sets you develop will have direct applicability to current public safety strategies in Canada.
- Dr. Scott Blandford
Asst. Professor, Graduate Coordinator