Factors that effect interagency collaborations : lessons during and following the 2002 Winter Olympics
Bertram, Christopher D.
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Collaboration is a critical component of homeland security. During the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City Utah, 11,000 public safety officers came together from federal, state and local agencies and successfully protected the games. This collaboration ensured the safety of more than 3.5 million visitors to the state, including athletes and foreign dignitaries. Six years after the Games and the 9/11 terror attacks, however, law enforcement agencies at every level have, at times, struggled to successfully implement collaborations on a continuing and consistent basis. Creating collaborations that endure is an important issue for public safety organizations. What are the key factors or enablers that foster an environment in which collaborations can be sustained? Based on twenty-two interviews with law enforcement leaders involved in the 2002 Winter Olympics, several factors were identified that impact the effectiveness and endurance of collaborations. These factors include motivation, felt need, leadership, trust and social capital, and a formalized system of roles and procedures. Leaders play an important role in a collaborative effort. By implementing a strategic plan, for example, leaders can increase the level of motivation for collaboration, even if there is no immediate need for a collaborative effort. This study found that enablers for continued collaborations after the 2002 Winter Olympics included leadership, trust and social capital, and felt need. The major explanations for the discontinuation of other Olympic collaborations were lack of motivation or need, lack of leadership, lack of strategic planning and no mandated system.
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