The Role of a Public Safety Officer

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The Role of a Public Safety Officer

In essence, PSOs have three careers at once - sometimes serving as a police officer, firefighter and EMT in a single shift. This unique model of providing safety services requires that new PSOs attend both the police and fire academy, followed by rigorous ongoing training throughout their service with the Village.

If additional assistance is needed when responding to a call for emergency medical services, PSOs assigned to the police shift carry specialized equipment in their squad car so that they can temporarily switch roles and help respond. Similarly, PSOs assigned to the fire shift are issued police equipment so that they can respond to police incidents as needed.

A Day in the Life of a Public Safety Officer
There is never a dull moment being a PSO. Throughout the day PSOs use both their police and fire training to serve the Glencoe community.

A “day in the life” of a Public Safety Officer begins at roll call. Leaders in the department share information between the on-coming and out-going shift, whether it has to do with recent criminal activity for those on the police shift, or medical equipment to be picked up at the hospital for those on the fire shift. Unlike other departments, the department’s roll call for police and fire shifts are combined which gives everyone a complete view of what’s going on in the community. Once roll call is over, the fire shift checks the fire apparatus and the police shift checks the patrol cars they are to drive for the day.

Police Shift: Throughout the day, officers respond to calls within their beat, which is the section of town they are responsible for patrolling that day. When officers are not responding to calls for service or writing reports, they are performing traffic stops, building checks and patrolling the community on foot. Even while on police shift, the PSOs carry fire gear in their patrol cars because at a moment’s notice they could be asked to switch and assist the fire shift with fire incident or with an ambulance call.

Fire Shift: The fire function of the Public Safety Department operates out of a single station, which runs an engine, squad and ambulance. PSOs on fire shift respond both to fire and emergency medical calls within Glencoe, as well as requests for assistance from surrounding communities. The department also responds to calls for service from the Chicago Botanic Garden and the Edens Expressway. The fire shift may also respond by boat for rescues on the Skokie Lagoon and in Lake Michigan.  

Special Teams
Throughout their careers, PSOs can participate in special teams alongside both firefighters and police officers from other departments, not being limited to one role over another. Some special teams include:

  • Northern Illinois Police Alarm System (NIPAS)
    Mobile Field Force
    Emergency Services Team
  • North Regional Major Crimes Task Force (NORTAF)
    Homicide Investigator
    Forensic Specialist
  • Major Crash Assistance Team
  • Mutual Aid Box Alarm System
    Hazardous Materials
    Fire/Arson Investigator
    Dive & Recovery Team
    Tactical Rescue Technician
  • Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System