From security forces to ground safety

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Thirteen years ...That is how long I've spent patrolling the streets as a security forces member. I've written tickets, made arrests and saved lives. I was great at my job.

I have always wanted to work in public safety so when the opportunity presented itself to change career fields I knew I made the right choice by joining the ground safety team. I've always wanted to serve people in a different way; not by forcing them into being safe by writing tickets or putting them in jail.

I want people to know that I truly care about them and how they conduct themselves; on- and off-duty.

Joining the ground safety career field has been my way of showing my fellow Airmen that safety is important. My goal is to ensure that people do their jobs and live their lives without complacency while decreasing the likelihood of on- and off-duty mishaps.

In the last five months, I've had the opportunity to speak with wing leadership about topics that concern me and the ability to ensure the mission is accomplished in a safe and effective manner. I have never really understood what getting injured on the job truly meant for the Air Force. It could cost thousands of dollars, possibly jeopardize the mission and create more work for our team members.

After conducting research I concluded there were:
 22 injuries that cost the 45th SW $55,800 (Fiscal Year 2012)
 24 injuries that cost the 45th SW $602,009 (Fiscal Year 2013)

Today's Air Force and concept of safety is more than eliminating hazards in the workplace. It involves hiring the most qualified members by conducting drug tests, criminal background checks and completing safety training.

We are also a checklist-driven military and most hazards have been documented to minimize exposure. These are just a few things that I never thought about as a cop but as a safety technician...it is relevant.