By: Stephen Carter
Instructional Coordinator, Mid-Atlantic Center for Emergency Management
Assessing the question “Why I serve?” caused me to see that the answer has changed over my career in public safety. Being long-in-the-tooth (old), has allowed me a progression in serving the public, which is our ultimate goal. I began in the 60’s as a dispatcher and firefighter who served the members of the public directly by providing direct service with the tools of the trade. I matriculated in the next several decades to training those who served the public, and managing systems that served the public as a fire chief and state agency training manager. This is the efforts made by a supervisor. Finally, I spent more than 10 years preparing future leaders to face the challenges and issues of public safety administration. Robert Katz identified the three levels of leadership skills: tools, human, and conceptual. I have had the extreme pleasure of serving the public directly, in training public safety workers to perform street skills, and in developing public safety supervisors and leaders. Each level had, and continues to have, special rewards—the best of which is the fact that I have made a difference in protecting the public, which is why I serve.