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Public safety officials collaborate with UNM-LA

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By Carol A. Clark

A new associate degree program with a concentration in public safety is set to launch in the fall or spring semester at the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos.

The program evolved through a collaboration between UNM-LA and the Los Alamos Public Safety Association (LAPSA) to develop a pool of qualified applicants to fill a void in the public safety field in the local area.

LAPSA is comprised of officials from police, fire, SOC, and the emergency management divisions of Los Alamos County and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

“We recognized that all of these disciplines have trouble finding qualified employees,” LAPSA member Michael Wismer said. “We want to create an educated workforce right here in Los Alamos to fill these needs rather than conduct national searches. We decided to see if we could develop a program to educate and train local people.”

The Associate of Arts in liberal arts – for public safety professionals is designed for students entering the public safety professional field in areas of police work, fire safety, security and emergency management.

Wismer explained that key people within LAPSA initially approached Executive Director Cedric Page from UNM-LA with the idea. Page signed on and Wismer said the program began to take shape.