AFTERBURN REPORT 2003
Efforts of separate departments to deal with issues of event safety have grown in tandem with the event's overall growth. This development has mandated change in the way each department functions and relates to other departments. Last year, the use of the name Rangers in reference to overall safety responsibilities became obsolete, as a new umbrella organization was formed for departments involved in ensuring safety on the playa. The heads of those departments selected the name Playa Safety Council (PSC) for the new collective to represent their functional relationships. The leaders of the Rangers, Gate/Perimeter, Law Enforcement Liaison (LEAL), Exodus, and Emergency Services departments attended monthly PSC meetings to share information about internal developments and forge consensus on all major decisions with inter-departmental impacts. In this manner, each department acted autonomously but in close communication with the others.
LEAL was merged with the Rangers organization. While the separate infrastructures were integrated, LEAL retained an individual seat on the council due to the political and organizational importance of its work.
Overall, this change worked very well to provide the autonomy that each department needed, while facilitating the communication that is critical to each department’s success. Many cross-departmental issues were hashed out in PSC meetings. Highlights of these discussions included the process for evicting camps (in the rare cases where such a drastic step might be needed), the new LEAL organization design, training information, and event-wide policy changes. This processes was largely successful at addressing mutual issues and fostering open communication and trust between these interrelated groups.
In the future we will continue to evaluate the effectiveness of this governing body and adjust its membership, purpose, and process, as necessary. Due to it's growing importance, DMV will be added to the council in 2004.
Harley K. DuBois