Given the sheer number and extent of events and incidents that have been transpiring one after another, public safety agencies are trying to come up with ways to be able to make effective response possible. One of the fool-proof ways that can easily be implemented despite lack of resources which is a common pain point for these agencies is that of joint responses through inter-agency collaborations.
Katie Nelson from the Mountain View Police Department (MVPD) leads the discussion on how such joint responses yield the best possible results for both the agencies and the community. Katie is MVPD’s Social Media and Public Relations Coordinator in charge of the department’s outreach and engagement efforts. She also serves as an instructor with the California Office of Emergency Services and the California POST, and presents across the country on social media best practices and crisis communication strategies.
Specifics of the webinar include:
- How recent turn of events make joint responses more common for law enforcement and other public safety agencies.
- The downfall of news by the hour, shifting towards real-time updates through advances in technology and information, and how inter-agency collaborations can result in the delay of release of information.
- Partnerships: Getting to know the agencies and people you are most likely to be working with and fostering connections and communication amongst partners.
- Creating effective work relationships through give and take and understanding each entity’s strengths and communication styles.
- Barriers to a joint response in terms of policies and procedures, strategies and tactics, support and buy-in, and voice, neutrality, respect and trust.
- Tips to overcome these barriers that could hinder best practices and outcomes.
- The value of interagency collaborations when it comes to promoting efficiency, allocating tasks, improving the quality and quantity of information, and managing reduced funding.
- Inter-agency collaborations: Its definition, benefits, misconceptions, challenges, and the roles of the entities and individuals within.
- Differentiating collaboration from cooperation in terms of the approach and decision-making process involved.
- How inter-agency collaboration facilitates better information sharing which then allows for better building of public trust.
- What can agencies do to get started on joint responses:
- By first getting started on the collaborations, understanding its benefits, and the importance of relationships that goes beyond just the leadership.
- Openly talk through problems and issues to open up lines of communication, identify areas for improvement, resolve conflicts and issues promptly, hear each entity’s side, and come up with compromises that work for everyone.
- Conduct joint trainings in areas of overlap.
- Get started with internal/inter-department
- Acknowledge the PIO’s critical role in cultivating trust, acceptance, and legitimacy from the community.
- Treat the press as an ally in ensuring the community gets accurate information in a timely manner.
Points raised during the Q&A were about:
- Determining who takes the lead in a crisis situation.
- How keeping mum on critical topics and incidents is taking away the power to control the narrative.
- Debunking misinformation that’s run loose.
- Standardizing the voice of the agency in its communication channels.
- Beginning the conversation towards inter-agency collaboration.
Other Webinars with this Presenter
- Feb 24: Social Media Threat Assessments
- May 12: Joint Responses with Government Agencies (this webinar)
- Sept 22: A PIO Reflection Panel
Or click here to view and register for other upcoming PIO, Social Media and Communications webinars on the JCH Platform.
Resources and Handouts
- Handout: The Future of Law Enforcement: Policing strategies to meet the challenges of evolving technology and a changing world by Gelles, Mariana and Mirkow (Deloitte)
- Handout: Community Relations Services Toolkit for Policing: Guide to Critical Issues in Policing. Department of Justice resource
- Handout: Critical Issues in Policing Series: Managing Major Events – Best Practices from the Field. Police Executive Research Forum.
- “It was a nice refresher on ways to collaborate with other service agencies and how to tackle common issues.” — Anneli
- “Collaboration vs. Cooperation.” — Bertha
- “Gaining perspectives from other agencies, jurisdictions, and disciplines is where I found the most value in this webinar.” — Brian
- “Really helpful to remember to treat the press (and all parties involved) as allies and not adversaries.” — Christine
- “The distinction between cooperation and collaboration.” — Donald
- “I like the idea of creating a live list of agency contacts and sending out emails every six months or so to ensure they are current. I liked that there were tips to provide the confidence to go and introduce yourself.” — Heather
- “Good specific tips.” –Karen