Think about all the various agencies that keep the government running smoothly. There are federal courts, local police, the military, school systems and many others. Often, the missions of these agencies overlap, and they need to work with each other in order to accomplish their goal.
Although this is common, it can still be difficult, since agencies have different approaches to communication and various ways of scheduling events and handling cases. In these cases, liaison officers are used to streamline the process when various agencies need to work together or communicate with members of the public.
What Is a Liaison Officer?
A liaison officer is someone whose job is to establish a working relationship between two of more agencies, often in order to help them work on a mutual problem or concern. A liaison officer can be seen as the go-between: The person who understands how both agencies typically work and who can help the agencies come together with an approach that suits both of them. Liaison officers can also work between an agency and individuals.
What Do Liaison Officers Do?
Liaison officers are responsible for streamlining communication and helping two different groups understand each other and work together efficiently. Using a liaison officer can help avoid misunderstandings and miscommunications, so goals can be accomplished more effectively. Because they help to streamline communication and accomplishments, liaison officers are used in many sectors.
Liaison Officers in The Military and Foreign Service
The military and the State Department often operate in unfamiliar territories and work closely with other agencies, whether domestic or foreign. In these cases, liaison officers are used to help facilitate communication. This can include overcoming language barriers, cultural differences or differences in how agencies operate.
For example, the U.S. State Department, which oversees diplomats, has a Community Liaison Office to help foreign service members and their families adjust to living in new countries. The Navy has school liaison officers who are responsible for helping to facilitate communication between military officials, parents and teachers.
Liaison Officers at the Local Level
Liaison officers are also used at the local level to keep government agencies communicating effectively. Many courts have liaison officers who are responsible for helping law enforcement, legal teams and schools come together on cases that involve more than one agency. These agencies also use liaison officers to help communicate information to the press and members of the public. Liaison officers might be sworn or non-sworn members of law enforcement communities locally.