U.S. public safety networks: Architectural patterns and performance

Steve Sawyer, Robert Schrier, Jane Fedorowicz, Martin Dias, Christine Williams, Mike Tyworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Through this paper we advance insights regarding common patterns among information and communication technology (ICT) architectures (ICTA) found in United States' public safety networks (PSNs). A PSN is an inter-organizational collaboration enabled by ICT to support information sharing and interoperability needs of police and associated public safety organizations. Substantial evidence makes clear the information systems designed and used by PSNs are typically expensive and complex, support multiple public agencies from different organs of government and span different political and geographic boundaries. Better understanding of PSN ICTA patterns could lead to improved designs and possibly improved performance of these (and perhaps other forms of) multi-agency technology-enabled collaborations. Empirical data from 61 operational PSNs provides the basis for this work. These data were analyzed using fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA), an approach ideally suited for detailed analyses across smaller data sets that allows us to assess inter-dependence among variables. Results show that (1) functionally similar configuration patterns of ICTA exist among PSNs and (2) several common architectural patterns are associated with higher levels of PSN performance, but these include a large number of unique successful arrangements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-156
Number of pages18
JournalInformation Polity
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013


  • Inter-organizational systems
  • architecture
  • cross-agency collaboration
  • fuzzy-set analysis
  • information and communication technology
  • public safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration


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