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Public safety reads: Find something for everyone in this epic book list

Dive into a curated collection of must-read public safety books, from thrilling accounts and leadership lessons from the front lines, to read-aloud children’s favorites

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By Police1 Staff

Welcome to our comprehensive guide to the top public safety books currently on the market. This curated list includes 14 diverse titles that provide valuable insights for everyone from aspiring EMTs, to seasoned leaders in law enforcement and fire protection, to our families at home.

From interactive children’s books that introduce young readers to the roles of police officers, to in-depth analyses of leadership under pressure, to resources to improve technical skill and resiliency, these selections are essential for anyone involved in or interested in the field of public safety.

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Must-read public safety books

This mix of narrative styles and educational content ensures that there’s something to both challenge and inspire everyone who picks up one of these public safety books.

Check out your next read below.

Thrilling first-hand public safety accounts

Thirty Years on the Line

In the first of 11 books, acclaimed author, Leo D. Stapleton, former commissioner and chief of the Boston Fire Department, “Thirty Years on the Line” recounts the early days of his career, starting out as a new private. Stapleton shares the career events that shaped him and how-to practical application of the lessons he learned on the line.

Unwavering Honor

Ride along with Police Officer Jim Calams as he responds to calls in Phoenix and Los Angeles, from taking down a suspect with a knife at his girlfriend’s throat, to investigating his first homicide, locating a lost elderly man after an earthquake, and cases involving celebrities like OJ Simpson and Michael Jackson. Calams shares the things he can’t unsee or unfeel from his years on the job.

Report from Engine Co. 82

Dennis Smith shares the stories of a brutal-yet-rewarding career working with his fellow bawdy and brave firefighters in a poverty-stricken district.

A Thousand Naked Strangers: A Paramedic’s Wild Ride to the Edge and Back

Former Paramedic Kevin Hazzard’s thrilling, hilarious account of a decade spent as a first responder in Atlanta is packed with drama, life saving and occasional catastrophe.

Hazzard reflects on connecting with people through chaos and life’s fragile beauty in this journey of self-discovery.

Paramedic: On the Front Lines of Medicine

In this dramatic account, Peter Canning relives the seconds that can mean the difference between a patient’s death and survival. Canning shares his graphic, gripping EMT war stories – the lives he saved and lost, and the constant adrenaline-pumping action.

Public safety leadership books

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win

In this updated version of the bestselling leadership book, two U.S. Navy SEAL officers who led the most highly decorated special operations unit of the Iraq War share how to apply powerful leadership principles from the battlefield to business and life.

Jocko Willink and Leif Babin share firsthand accounts of heroism, loss and hard-won victories, as well as the mind-set and principles that enable SEAL units to accomplish seemingly impossible missions. Their leadership lessons apply to any team, family or organization.

Cornerstones of Leadership: On and Off the Fireground

FDNY Chief Frank shares the cornerstones of leadership from his more than 40 years in the fire service and how these lessons are transferable to anyone looking for self-improvement or organizational advancement. Chief Leeb recounts unique stories of the FDNY in action, from heroism to triumph and how the slimmest of margins between winning and losing can be directly credited to preparation a and winning mindset.

The Wisdom of the Bullfrog: Leadership Made Simple (But Not Easy)

In this New York Times bestseller, Admiral William H. McRaven shares lessons learned from dealing with every conceivable leadership challenge in his four decades as a Navy Seal – a tenure that earned him the title of “Bullfrog” – the longest tenured active-duty Navy Seal.

From commanding combat operations – including the capture of Saddam Hussein, the rescue of Captain Phillips and the raid for Osama bin Laden – McRaven mastered crisis situations, management debates, organizational transitions and ethical dilemmas, providing the most important leadership lessons he has learned over the course of years of service.

Resources for public safety professionals

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams

This New York Times bestseller full of actionable steps for getting a better night’s sleep dives into the purpose and power of slumber, one of the most important but least understood aspects of our life.

Neuroscientist and sleep expert Matthew Walker examines how sleep affects every aspect of our physical and mental well-being, and how we can harness sleep to improve learning, mood and energy levels; regulate hormones; prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes; slow the effects of aging; and increase longevity.

Rapid Interpretation of EKGs, Sixth Edition

Dale Dubin’s rapid assimilation of medical concepts and entertaining style makes learning enjoyable in this best-selling book.

The book’s captions explaining the concepts illustrated on each page, interactive learning, 12-lead tracing practice examples and summarized reference sheets help EMS learners establish self-confidence.

The FireHouse Gourmet: 101 Crockpot Recipes

Chef and Firefighter Alan Bohms serves up 101 simple and easy-to-make crockpot recipes to keep your station or home crew satisfied.

Public safety books for children

A Day at the Police Station

Children will love this ride-along with Busytown’s favorite police officer, Sergeant Murphy as he shares safety tips and helps Busytown citizens find lost items and manage traffic jams. This book from Richard Scarry also includes a sheet of stickers.

K9 Mattis on the Job: A Day in the Life of a Police Dog

Great for children who love dogs, are fascinated by police officers or other first responders, or are fans of PAW Patrol’s Chase and Officer Buckle and Gloria; this picture book from Mark Tappan and illustrated by Donald Wu includes bright, action-packed illustrations.

Meet real-life Mattis the K9 officer featured on A&E’s America’s Top Dog and learn about a day in the life of a German shepherd police dog.

Police Officers on Patrol

Kersten Hamilton, author of childhood favorite, “Red Truck”, and Illustrator R.W. Alley’s rhyming picture book teaches children what police officers do for our communities and is just begging to be read aloud.

Read this kid-favorite aloud

Let’s Meet a Police Officer

This edition in a series of children’s books on community helpers introduces Officer Gabby, a police officer who knows how to keep people safe. Author Gina Bellisario and Illustrator Cale Atkinson teach kids about police cars, dogs and tools with cartoon-style animated drawings in bright colors.

Police1 is using generative AI to create some content that is edited and fact-checked by our editors.