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Public Policy and Administration


Paul Rutledge


There is a lack of knowledge regarding how public safety organizations communicate threat-related information at the local level. The purpose of this qualitative exploratory case study was to explore the benefits and challenges of sharing threat-related information between public safety agencies (law enforcement, fire services, emergency medical services, and public health) in Honolulu, Hawaii. The conceptual framework for the study was general systems theory. The sample for this study was a subset of 13 individuals from the larger population of approximately 50 subject matter experts who worked within four public safety agencies and had extensive experience analyzing and sharing threat-related information. Purposeful sampling was utilized for the study. Data were collected through in-depth interviews. The findings of this study clearly identified several important themes related to sharing threat-related information between local public safety organizations: information flow, collaboration, participation with the state fusion center, and the complexity of sharing confidential information. I found that Honolulu public safety agencies are currently communicating through information flow within and between organizations; however, this flow of information is intermittent. I also found that threat-related information often contains highly protected, or law enforcement sensitive information, and is difficult to share between agencies. Inadequate threat-related information sharing and poor collaboration among local public safety agencies may put the public at increased risk from violent attacks. The results of this study contribute to positive social change by identifying the benefits and challenges of sharing threat-related information between local public safety agencies.