Public Safety

Division of Public Safety at Gulf Coast State College

When most of us hear the phrase hometown heroes, we automatically think of first responders – fire fighters, police officers, paramedics, EMTs and other emergency medical services (EMS) personnel. But all of those jobs depend on a public safety system to function well, careers from emergency service managers to fire inspectors and crime scene technicians. All are public heroes in our eyes. 

Job Outlook for Public Safety Careers

According a December 2015 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers in public safety occupations – such as law enforcement and corrections officers, fire fighters and security guards – will pay a slightly higher than median wage, but will have slower than average job growth (4%) between now and 2024. Despite those overall statistics, demand in other public safety careers will spike. EMT and paramedic jobs will grow much faster than average at 24% and demand for crime scene investigators (also called forensic service technicians) will increase 27% by 2024.

degree Programs Available in Public Safety

Gulf Coast’s Public Safety Division teaches classes that lead you to the following degrees.

  • Bachelor of Applied Science Degree
  • Associate of Arts Degree
  • Associate of Science Degree

Public Safety Division courses in the EMS Academy, Fire Academy, Law Enforcement Academy, and Corrections Academy on the North Bay campus and programs on the Panama City campus also lead to certificates, certifications, licenses and an applied technical diploma and college credit certificates. 

Areas of Study Specific to Your Needs

Whether you are returning to the workforce and need to recertify or are just starting your career, the Public Safety Division at Florida’s Gulf Coast State College offers classes that will help you get ahead.

Not sure whether Gulf Coast State College offers the program you’re looking for? Search our programs page to find a variety of the areas of study available in Panama City, Florida, and its campuses in Gulf/Franklin, North Bay and at the Tyndall Air Force Base.

Resources for our Students

Career-Specific Training Facilities

Gulf Coast State College students in the Division of Public Safety take courses on the North Bay campus near the Panama City-Bay County airport. The college and Bay County public safety organizations share the top-notch Charles H. Abbott Public Safety Training Center. In addition to Gulf Coast public safety programs, the North Bay campus houses the:

  • Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Standards & Training Commission Certified Training Academy 11
  • Florida Fire Standards Certified Training Academy
  • Emergency Medical Services Training Program

Students train in the Incident Command Center inside the Emergency Operations Center side-by-side with Bay County emergency operations personnel on a daily basis. In addition, students train in the best facilities in the area based on their specialized area of study.

  • Firearms Training Range Facility including a 100-7ard rifle range, four 25-yard pistol ranges and a Use-of-Force/Firearms Simulation Lab (Law Enforcement Academy)
  • Vehicle Operations and Extractions Range (Law Enforcement Academy, EMT and Paramedic Program students)
  • Jail Cell Training Lab (Corrections Academy students)
  • Paramedic/EMT Indoor Training Lab
  • Evidence Processing Training Lab (EMT, paramedic, and crime scene technician students)
  • State Approved Burn Building (Fire Science Academy students)
  • Outdoor Drill and Prop field (Fire Science Academy)

Public Safety Program Coordinators

Our staff are ready to answer questions about your program requirements and next steps.

CRIMINOLOGY, CRIMINAL JUSTICE, Law Enforcement Academy and Corrections Academy 

Daryl White
850-769-1551, ext. 5613

Public Safety Advanced Training and Crossover Programs

Greg May
850-769-1551, ext. 5605

Fire Academy

Kevin Granberg
850-769-1551, ext. 5606

Emergency Medical Services
Liliana Zamora
850-769-1551, ext. 5632
Dr. Dan Finley
850-769-1551, ext. 5603
Victoria Byrd
850-769-1551, ext. 5615
North Bay Campus - Range Manager
Damian South
850-769-1551, ext. 2903

Contact the Division of Public Safety

The Division of Public Safety is housed on the North Bay Campus. For additional information about programs and courses available through the Public Safety Division, contact the division chair | academy director, Bruce Harber at 850-872-3878 or by e-mail at  The senior administrative assistant, Elizabeth Kelly, may be reached as well with general questions related to Public Safety. Contact your program coordinator with specific questions about degree or certificate program requirements. 

Public Safety Division

Public Safety-Emergency Operations Center
700 Hwy 2300
Panama City, FL 32409

Division of Public Safety Chair

Bruce Harber


Elizabeth Kelly