CHAPTER 21 The Role of Root Cause Analysis in Public Safety ERM Programs


Risk Manager

This chapter provides an overview of how root cause analysis (RCA) techniques can be used by public safety and law enforcement agencies to support their enterprise risk management (ERM) programs. It provides an introduction to several of the more commonly used tools, and uses a series of case studies to illustrate how these can be applied in the public safety environment.


Public safety agencies (such as local police departments) have a long tradition of operational risk management—after all, almost everything they do has an enhanced level of risk associated with it. Police officers respond to situations where emotions are often running high, and where the threat of physical violence is never far from the surface. It is perhaps not surprising that conversations around risk often gravitate toward issues of officer and public safety, and rarely toward more mundane issues of business process or budget risk.1

In many ways, ERM is a natural fit for public safety agencies due to their risk-aware culture. One of the largest challenges in adopting ERM within a law enforcement agency is the need to redirect police officers' natural inclination to immediately solve the risk, rather than methodically analyzing it to understand its true nature. This is perhaps not surprising given the way most police officers are trained: observe a problem, evaluate the options, and then ...

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