The Social Impact of Public Safety Exploring

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Purpose. The purpose of this quantitative research study was to investigate the potential social impact that offering early public safety education had on a community. Utilizing Learning for Life’s national membership, data were collected comparing individuals who participated in Fire & Emergency Services (EMS) and Law Enforcement Career Exploring Programs to those who had not. By looking beyond the perceived benefits and focusing on the quantifiable results of program participation, an explicit representation of the social impact is identified. Theoretical Framework. The theoretical framework of this research was anchored on empowerment theory. This theory indicates that by empowering individuals through a helping system, proactive behaviors will result in social change. As applied to the present study, this theory holds that the researcher would expect that participation in an early public safety education program to influence or explain the proactive behaviors that create social impact. Methodology. This study employed a nonexperimental, quantitative research design to examine the benefits of empowering young adults with early public safety education. To test a series of assumptions regarding the prosocial effects of participating in Fire & EMS and Law Enforcement Career Exploring Programs, data collected by Learning for Life were analyzed. A series of statistical analyses were conducted to see whether two groups of survey respondents—former Explorers and non-Explorers differ in their responses to questions categorized as career opportunities, leadership experience, life skills, citizenship, and character education. Findings. Examination of the quantitative research data revealed a statistically significant relationship between participating in Fire & EMS and Law Enforcement Career Exploring Programs and prosocial behavior. Specifically, the data indicated that young adults between the ages of 23-28 who had participated in a Public Safety Exploring Program for at least 1 year had experienced enhanced career opportunities, leadership experience, life skills, citizenship, and character education compared to similar individuals who had not participated in an Exploring Program. Conclusions. This study adds to the body of knowledge by combining quantitative supporting data to the established preconceived benefits of early public safety education. It also confirms the impact of programs that create social change through individual empowerment.
a dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Public Administration
Law Enforcement, Public Safety Education