IT TAKES A VILLAGE: INTEGRATING FIREHOUSE HUBS TO ENCOURAGE COOPERATION AMONG POLICE, FIRE, AND THE PUBLIC
Hurt, Greta J.
Kiernan, Kathleen L.
Halladay, Carolyn C.
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Tension and hostility between police officers and society seem to be on the rise, and officers and firefighters alike face violence and other threats on a daily basis. While these agencies strive to protect and serve, they often overlook each other, failing to recognize what a cooperative front might do to improve public relations. This thesis explores the idea of using firehouses as central hubs of collaboration to improve the trust, cooperation, and safety of police officers, firefighters, and the public. The research consisted of focus group discussions obtained from three specific Oklahoma groups: Owasso firefighters, Tulsa police officers, and Tulsa citizens. The research indicates that most participants are in favor of community-centered efforts, including the proposed firehouse hub concept. This study also reveals differing views among the groups regarding the benefits and challenges of such strategies, as well as insight and suggestions for their success. Showcasing Tulsa, Oklahoma, this thesis recommends using existing fire stations as catalysts to encourage police-officer foot patrols and to foster better relationships, cooperation, and safety among all groups. This thesis suggests that better collaboration between police officers and firefighters might significantly influence positive change and improve the relationships and safety of first responders and the public.
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