Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mercer University to Hold Public Safety Impact Day in Henry

Mercer University will hold the inaugural Public Safety Impact Day in Henry County on Saturday, Aug. 22, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This free community event will be held at Mercer’s Henry County Regional Academic Center, located at 160 Henry Parkway in McDonough.

The event is free for the community and is sponsored by the College of Continuing and Professional Studies as part of the roll-out of its newly reformulated undergraduate major in public safety in Henry County. The University has partnered with several co-sponsors to hold demonstrations and booths. Among the co-sponsors are the McDonough Fire Department, McDonough Police Department, Henry County Police Department, Henry County SWAT, Henry County K-9, Henry County Fire Department, the Henry County COPS program, Henry County Sheriff’s Office, Henry County Emergency Management and the Georgia State Patrol. The public safety demonstrations will take place every 30 minutes throughout the event.

In addition to the demonstrations, the event includes food, refreshments and child-friendly activities including a clown and a moonwalk. The event will also include free parking and shuttle service.

“Our public safety partners in the area were extremely happy to work with us to create a dynamic event that showcases the many aspects and dimensions of public safety,” said Dr. Larry D. Stewart, associate professor and program coordinator for the master’s degree in public safety leadership. “In a post-9-11 world, our public safety responses have to be integrated and comprehensive, from police and fire departments to emergency management, emergency medical services, and emergency preparedness. Our public safety partners have been extremely supportive of this event in part because of their understanding that effective public safety relies on cooperation with each other and a variety of community-based partners. Our partnerships reflect the role that educational institutions can play in establishing relationships among public safety agencies, businesses and the community to address the enormous challenge of homeland security in Georgia.”

The College of Continuing and Professional Studies reformulated its criminal justice undergraduate major into a degree in public safety to align it with the changing landscape of public safety. The profession has shifted from distinctive emergency services such as law enforcement, fire and emergency response into a more cohesive and professionalized framework. With new threats demanding an integrated response, this new degree will train a new breed of cross-trained professionals. Included in the new coursework for this program are courses in homeland security, cyber security, forensics, emergency management, terrorism, leadership and multicultural issues.

The undergraduate major compliments the College’s highly successful Master of Science in Public Safety Leadership program. The master’s degree was established in 2006 to train new leaders in the both the traditional elements and practices of public safety while addressing new challenges and advocating new directions for the traditional public safety within the new framework of homeland security. Designed for practicing and aspiring public safety leaders, the curriculum includes professional leadership principles, updated administrative practices, information gathering and sharing, risk and threat assessments, intelligence analysis, preparation for mass disasters including weapons of mass destruction, risk management, preemption of terrorism and use of consolidated incident command systems.

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