Protecting Life & Civil Liberties - Masters of Collaboration

by Charles J. Guddemi

Collaboration is no longer an option. In today’s interconnected society, agencies and organizations must communicate with each other, coordinate resources, and align priorities. In Washington, D.C., New York City, and San Francisco, California, the United States Park Police (USPP) at each location face even greater challenges because of their close proximity to national and international people and places of interest, as well as to the critical infrastructure that is weaved into the daily operations of those major metropolitan cities.

The USPP must coordinate efforts among various branches within its organizational structure, as well as with outside agencies. Headquartered in the nation’s capital, the USPP is responsible for large areas of federal parkland that lie adjacent to land and property protected by neighboring law enforcement agencies. To maximize resources, and avoid the added cost associated with bringing in USPP officers from other parts of the nation, there are benefits for collaborating with those neighboring agencies.

However, somebody has to take the first step and open the lines of communication. The relationships and collaboration, which have led to the successful implementation of thousands of special events held each year on federal land, have been many years in the making. When tragedies such as the 16 September 2013 shooting at the Washington Navy Yard take place, the planning, training, and collaboration cultivated from scheduled events help promote a more rapid and effective response to such unplanned incidents.

For the USPP, every day is different and each planned event serves as a new learning and training opportunity to better prepare for the unexpected. Partnering with outside agencies is a key factor for success. By facilitating resource sharing and promoting greater situational awareness, such partnerships are the foundation for building a safer, more protected homeland.

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