Public Safety Planner IV

Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments

Washington, DC

Experience Level: Mid-Level

AICP Certification: AICP Not required

Salary: $77,705 - $109,951

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The Council of Governments’ public safety and homeland security work helps ensure the Region Forward Vision’s goal for safe communities for area residents and visitors. On homeland security, COG brings leaders together to increase the region’s ability to detect, prepare, train for, and respond to man-made and natural threats. COG works with police chiefs, fire chiefs, and other first responders on a variety of public safety issues from crime prevention to fire safety. Ensuring reliable, timely emergency communication is also a priority of COG and its members.

The Planner IV is an advanced level professional position in regional emergency management and homeland security planning, inclusive of activities within the domains of public health, fire and rescue, transportation, and law enforcement, among others.

Daily activities for this position involve performing advanced planning duties, such as conducting detailed research and analysis on disaster data and policies, to provide advice to the assigned department, other operating departments with COG, and/or the jurisdictions represented by COG. The Planner IV serves as a member of various project teams and may lead work teams. Guidelines and supervision for the Planner IV are provided by the Chief of Public Safety and Health Preparedness.


Specific work responsibilities of the Planner IV include:

  • Facilitating meetings with high-level stakeholders, while documenting and tracking action items and decision-making.
  • Moving stakeholders forward on identified action items and decisions.
  • Providing input on complex policy and strategy matters in the form of oral and written reports and responses to requests for information or data.
  • Developing processes and methodology for regional strategy.
  • Creating easily accessible data visualization and graphics for use in stakeholder documents and products.
  • Maintaining positive, trusting work relationships with coworkers and regional stakeholders.
  • Developing methods and techniques for plan evaluation and review of spatial, fiscal, economic, social, environmental, and political impact.
  • Coordinating project scheduling, progress evaluation, technical liaison and interdepartmental coordination.
  • Providing project activity tracking in support of the Chief of Public Safety and Health Preparedness, including supervising contract staff or management of discrete projects with assigned staff peers.
  • Attending professional conferences and training sessions as a representative of COG.  
  • Experience with public outreach methods, such as marking new personal preparedness techniques or regional training and programs.
  • Ability to manage a variety of highly specialized and technical problems in support of local officials and the public.
  • Ability to perform independent technical research work.


Provide project activity tracking in support of the Chief; this may include supervision of contract staff or management of discrete projects with assigned staff peers.


To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential responsibility satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Education and Professional Experience 

Bachelor’s degree and five or more years of professional experience in emergency management or related fields, such as  defense, politics, public health, or public policy; or any equivalent combination of experience and training which provides the required knowledge, skills, and abilities relevant to the major duties of this position. Preferred: A master's degree from an accredited university; thorough knowledge of intergovernmental coordination; and professional supervisory experience.

Communication Skills 

Demonstrated expert skills in verbal, written, and interpersonal communication. Substantial experience condensing complex topics to concise summaries appropriate for the general public. A keen understanding of boundaries in the presence of stakeholders, including politicians and agency leadership, and when/where to provide a value-adding opinion. Proven success in data visualization, the development of process figures, and graphic design. Preferred: multiple years of experience developing original drafts of governmental doctrine and/or policy. Experience with public outreach methods, such as marketing new personal preparedness techniques or regional training and programs.

Critical Thinking  

Ability to manage a variety of highly specialized and technical problems in support of local officials and the public. Ability to perform independent technical research work and guide others in performance of their assignments. Ability to supervise the work of support staff while displaying good judgement.

Computer Knowledge and Skills 

In-depth understanding of the MS Office Suite of programs, including Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and OneNote. Significant experience with Adobe InDesign or comparable desktop publishing software. Understanding of MS Sharepoint and OneDrive. Experience with navigating U.S. Census data and other publicly available large data sets for analytics and supporting leadership decision-making. Preferred: Several years of experience performing skilled quality control and quality assurance on public documents; program performance auditing/evaluation; and GIS and/or mapping skills.

Mathematical Skills 

Understanding of statistics, quantitative assessment techniques, and transforming qualitative data into quantitative data.

Certificates, Licenses, Registrations 

Professional certification will be included in consideration of acceptable experience and training.

Please send a cover letter, resume and salary requirement highlighting the skills and relevant experience you would bring to this position, by emailing [email protected] or visit

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments is committed to compliance with federal and state laws requiring that MWCOG only hires workers who are lawfully entitled to work in the United States (U.S. citizens or nationals and non-citizens with valid work authorization) without discrimination. MWCOG does not sponsor Visas of any type.  All persons employed by Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments are required to comply with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 by presenting documents to verify identity and authorization to work in the United States.

Acceptable forms of identification are listed by the Department of Homeland Security / U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

Further information can be found on MWCOG’s Human Resources webpage (

During the COVID pandemic, COG has conducted its work virtually largely     th rough telework. Staff are currently expected to return to the physical office in the beginning of 2022, with continued opportunities for part-time telework.

Posted December 8, 2021, 8:56 AM PST

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