AMU Emergency Management Opinion Original Public Safety

Kingdon’s ‘Window of Opportunity’ and Emergency Management

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By Allison G. S. Knox
Columnist, EDM Digest

Political scientists often theorize about how policies will be formulated, how those policies will impact the social system, the fallout from those policies and how they will strengthen communities. Comprehending the complexities of policymaking is particularly important for advocates and understanding the pressure points for instituting new policies.

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Over the past few years, there has been tremendous discussion about how Black Americans are treated in the United States. And in recent months following the murder of Mr. George Floyd, the discussion about police brutality and racism has surged to the forefront of U.S. society. So in regard to John Kingdon’s Multiple Streams Framework, is the window of opportunity arriving to bring forth real change for black Americans in the United States?

The Multiple Streams Framework and Understanding Policy Frameworks

Policy frameworks are essentially theoretical models that can be applied to the concepts of new policies. Using these frameworks, we can better understand the mechanics of how a given policy will play out or the environment that contributes to policy development.

Multiple Streams Framework is a policy framework that political scientists use to better understand how policies emerge and develop. John Kingdon was famous for creating the Multiple Streams Framework. Simply put, it highlights how problems, politics and policies emerge in society. And through these developments within society, a window of opportunity is created where policy developments, changes and implementations can occur.

Black Lives Matter

We have all heard the phrase “Black Lives Matter” for at least six years in regard to the tragic deaths of other African Americans. But George Floyd’s death — which showed the use of extreme police brutality for a crime he had not been found guilty of committing — has brought forward a national and international discussion of inequalities and injustices.

In bringing Black Lives Matter to greater public awareness, it seems that politics and policies — as highlighted by Kingdon — may be emerging in such a way that there is a positive impact on society. That, in turn, could lead to a real, lasting change of society for the better, which will likely impact public safety agencies and their subsequent policies.

As political scientists have noted, major events like the ones we have experienced in 2020 are the events that shifting our society into a new direction. It will be interesting to see how society changes for the better in the wake of these most recent discussions.

Allison G. S. Knox teaches in the fire science and emergency management departments at American Military University and American Public University. Focusing on emergency management and emergency medical services policy, she often writes and advocates about these issues. Allison serves as the At-Large Director of the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians, Secretary & Chair of the TEMS Committee with the International Public Safety Association and as Chancellor of the Southeast Region on the Board of Trustees with Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society in Social Sciences. Prior to teaching, she worked for a Member of Congress in Washington, D.C. and in a Level One trauma center emergency department. Passionate about the policy issues surrounding emergency management and emergency medical services, Allison often researches, writes and advocates about these issues. Allison is an emergency medical technician and holds four master’s degrees.

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