Making the transition from law enforcement to emergency management: Organizational, occupational, and cultural issues


  • Walter S. Topp, MPA



emergency management, law enforcement, transition, culture, camaraderie, secrecy, information sharing, education, experience, Emergency Management Institute (EMI) Basic Academy, Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP)


While the number of higher education programs in Emergency Management has increased significantly, many emergency management agencies continue to rely on emergency services organizations—including law enforcement agencies—as sources of experienced or trained emergency management practitioners. As the field of emergency management matures, however, becoming more complex, more technical, and significantly broader, law enforcement experience may no longer prepare an individual to succeed as a professional emergency manager. To ensure a successful transition, government officials seeking to fill emergency management leadership positions and law enforcement officers seeking to transition to emergency management must recognize the significant occupational, organizational, and cultural differences between law enforcement and emergency management, and they should develop strategies for mitigating those differences.

Author Biography

Walter S. Topp, MPA

Emergency Preparedness, Armada Ltd., Powell, Ohio


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How to Cite

Topp, MPA, W. S. “Making the Transition from Law Enforcement to Emergency Management: Organizational, Occupational, and Cultural Issues”. Journal of Emergency Management, vol. 17, no. 1, Jan. 2019, pp. 45-52, doi:10.5055/jem.2019.0396.