Date of Conferral
Public Policy and Administration
The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks exposed considerable breakdowns in communications interoperability and information sharing among first responders. Multijurisdictional responses to the active-shooter incidents at the University of Texas in 2010; Sandy Hook Elementary of Newtown, Connecticut in 2012, and the Reynolds High School shooting of Multnomah County, Oregon in 2014 were replete with interoperability failures as well. Recent multijurisdictional response events continue to illuminate difficulties with first-responder interoperability and minimal research exists to promote understanding of the interoperability challenges of university police departments. The purpose of this study was to explore the barriers that impede communications of campus based law enforcement agencies during multiagency or multijurisdictional response. General systems theory and the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology model provided the conceptual framework for this qualitative case study. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 10 leaders of university public safety agencies in California. Data were collected, inductively coded, and thematically analyzed. Key findings indicate that participants perceived barriers of funding, policy, inclusiveness, and training that affect communications interoperability performance. The positive social change implications from this study include recommendations of policy change for improved interoperability during multiagency or multijurisdictional response which can contribute to increased first-responder safety, more efficient multijurisdictional response, and improved safety of students and society at large.