Danger, Disorder and Disaster: Lessons Learned in Command, Control, Coordination and Communication

Donald A. Lund, University of New Hampshire

Justiceworks at the University of New Hampshire has been perfecting a lessons learned "case study" technique allowing analysis of "event" data from disparate sources. By reorganizing qualitative information from verified accounts into a standardized format, quantifying them using predetermined scales, and subjecting the resulting data to statistical analysis, the researchers have been able to discern patterns in these events, to derive generalizable lessons learned and to identify "best practices." A recently completed study of the consequences of the "noninteroperability" of wireless communications contrasting such events as the Drega Incident in Northern New Hampshire and Vermont, the Columbine High School shootings, the 9/11 attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center, the Worcester Warehouse Fire, the Seattle WTO Protests, the Oklahoma City bombings and the Florida Wildfires of 1998, has generated useful findings regarding wireless technology and in such areas as communications discipline, adherence to "incident command system" operating procedures, and logistic support as well. These results, augmented by the findings of a multistate interoperability survey of law enforcement agencies and illustrated by highlights from case study materials provide valuable insights for those interested in law enforcement command, control, coordination and communication.

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Updated 05/20/2006