Complex cases require nuanced police work. In many instances, law enforcement agencies need to work together in order to leverage the diverse skills needed to keep up with criminals. What’s more, crimes that take place across jurisdictional boundaries become incredibly difficult to solve if agencies cannot collaborate.

All told, interagency cooperation can streamline case resolution and lead to major efficiency gains within the justice system. However, all of these benefits can only be gleaned if agencies can share information and collaborate on cases effectively. Clear policies and training materials are necessary to ensure officers know what is expected of them, how they should interact with other agencies and what documentation procedures are necessary to maintain a healthy relationship.

These complexities can be daunting, but two recent initiatives highlight the potential gains offered by interagency cooperation.

Agencies work together to resolve huge poaching case
A large-scale poaching problem has been plaguing Leon County, Texas, as a group of individuals had been driving around on public roads, shooting down animals on both public and private land. These drive-by poaching incidents stretched out through last summer and led to the destruction of property and the illegal killing of at least 68 white-tail deer as well as a long list of other animals. According to an Athens Daily Review report on the resolution of the case, the poachers only actually used a small amount of meat from any of the animals they killed, and most of the carcasses were left to rot.

Tracking down these poachers was only possible because the county sheriff’s office and the game wardens were able to work together, the report said. All told, six individuals are facing approximately 175 charges pertaining to the incident. Col. Craig Hunter, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Law Enforcement Director, told the news source that cooperation between agencies made the difference in resolving this case.

“I am extremely proud of the strong relationship between our game wardens, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, and local landowners,” Hunter told the Athens Daily Review. “Simply put, open communication is the cornerstone of solid police work and without great interagency cooperation this investigation would not have been a success.”

Texas police departments work together to form special unit
Many small police departments lack the resources to respond to major emergencies, like shooters at a school, on their own. The Madisonville Meteor reported that the Madison County, Madisonville and Normangee police agencies have collaborated to develop a special task force to respond to emergency events. The focus of the group is to respond to active shooting events, and collaboration between these groups will lead to more rapid responses during emergencies, as the departments will no longer need to contact larger agencies that would then need to drive to the area, delaying action.

Getting interagency efforts off the ground
Collaboration between police departments can solve many problems, but only if those agencies can share information effectively. Cost-efficient document management software creates a web-based policy, training and documentation system, ensuring all officers involved in a case can get the information they need, regardless of which agency they work in.