Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Information Science and Technology


Lee W. McKnight


Collaboration, Communication, Cooperation, Information Sharing, Stigmergy, Trust

Subject Categories

Library and Information Science


This dissertation identifies what may be done to overcome barriers to information sharing among federal, tribal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and emergency responders. Social, technical, and policy factors related to information sharing and collaboration in the law enforcement and emergency response communities are examined. This research improves information sharing and cooperation in this area. "Policing in most societies exists in a state of "dynamic tension" between forces that tend to isolate it and those that tend to integrate its functioning with other social structures" (Clark, 1965). Critical incidents and crimes today cross jurisdictions and involve multiple stakeholders and levels. Law enforcement and emergency response agencies at federal, tribal, state, and local levels, including private sector entities, gather information and resources but do not effectively share this with each other. Despite mandates to improve information sharing and cooperation, gaps remain perhaps because there is no clear understanding of what the barriers to information sharing are. Information sharing is examined using a multi-method, primarily qualitative, approach. A model for information sharing is presented that identifies social, technical, and policy factors as influencers. Facets of General Systems Theory, Socio-technical Theory, and Stakeholder Theory (among others) are considered in this context. Information sharing is the subject of the first work of the dissertation: a theoretical piece arguing for use of a conceptual framework consisting of social, technical, and policy factors. Social, technology, and policy factors are investigated in the second essay. That essay introduces a new transformative technology, "edgeware," that allows for unprecedented connectivity among devices. Social and policy implications for crisis response are examined in light of having technological barriers to sharing resources reduced. Human and other factors relevant to information sharing and collaboration are further examined through a case study of the Central New York Interoperable Communications Consortium (CNYICC) Network, a five-county collaboration involving law enforcement, public safety, government, and non-government participants. The three included essays have a common focus vis-à-vis information sharing and collaboration in law enforcement and emergency response. The propositions here include: (P1) Information sharing is affected by social, technical, and policy factors, and this conceptualization frames the problem of information sharing in a way that it can be commonly understood by government and non-government stakeholders. The next proposition involves the role of technology, policy, and social systems in information sharing: (P2) Social and policy factors influence information sharing more than technical factors (assuming it is physically possible to connect and/or share). A third proposition investigated is: (P3) Social factors play the greatest role in the creation and sustaining of information sharing relationships. The findings provide a greater understanding of the forces that impact public safety agencies as they consider information sharing and will, it is hoped, lead to identifiable solutions to the problem from a new perspective.


Open Access

Available for download on Monday, March 13, 2028