A liaison officer is in charge of working with different people, organizations or agencies to help them accomplish a common goal. To do this, the liaison officer must oversee communications, and coordinate efforts between these different entities as well as the general public. Liaison officers can work in both the private and public sectors, but most are employed by public safety agencies.
Coordination of Departments
Getting various agencies to work together towards a single goal is the primary responsibility of a liaison officer. For example, in a school shooting or invasion situation, police, fire and medical services may need to be on the same scene to perform safety duties, with counseling and clergy services also present at the same location for other support. A liaison officer in these cases ensures that the police and fire departments have maintained safety before medical and counseling services begin, and provides communication and logistical support to ensure that all services are provided efficiently.
Communication and Representation
A liaison officer is the point of contact for the news media and possibly the general public for information about emergency situations or department operations. He may communicate through press releases, press conferences or interviews. In addition, the liaison officer may coordinate social media updates, as well as telephone call-in services for community members with the need for more specific information.
When many people or agencies work together on a common project, each may have its own agenda, or reasons for doing things. A liaison officer mediates disputes between each party, and keeps a project moving forward towards its goal. The officer may need to work with people with very strong personalities, and help each see the other's point of view.
Types of Liaison Officers
Liaison officers commonly work in police and fire departments, due to these agencies' exposure in crisis events. Liaison officers also work with courts as "bridges" between the legal system and the public or public agencies. Schools also use liaison officers as a way to connect police departments to the students in a productive way. A private sector company may also use a liaison officer to promote and enhance its public image.
Necessary Skills and Training
Liaison officers must have good organization and communication skills, as they must manage communication between people with different training and skill sets to allow them to work together effectively. When working with a police or fire department, a liaison officer may need to complete the minimum training requirements of a police officer or fire fighter. A liaison officer must also be a strong leader. A bachelor's degree in English, communications or a similar field is often helpful for entering this profession.
Salary and Pay Ranges
Liaison officer salaries vary according to the employer and job sector, as well as according to training and ability. According to 2015 data on the careers website Glassdoor, a liaison officer working in the health care field earns an average of $61,763 per year, while a liaison officer working for law enforcement earns an average of $47,716. Liaison officers in the general business sector earn considerably higher amounts, averaging $135,577 per year.
- U.S. Department of Labor: Occupational Safety & Health Administration -- Liaison Officer
- U.S. Department of Justice: School Disruptions
- Occupational Safety & Health Administration: Task Book for the Position of Liaison Officer
- State of Rhode Island: Liaison Officer Job Aid
- Glassdoor: Liaison Officer Salaries
- Photo Credit David Hiller/Photodisc/Getty Images
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