Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Lavoie

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


Improvement in the collaboration between police and emergency hospital services in responding to citizens in mental health (MH) crisis has been identified as vital by researchers and service organizations alike (Human Services and Justice Coordinating Committee, 2013). Research suggests that collaboration between these two services is inhibited by a lack of clear communication, protection of patient privacy, insufficient training, siloing of services, and safety concerns for patients and staff (Cotton & Coleman, 2010). Consequences of inadequate cooperation between police and hospital services has resulted in lengthy emergency room (ER) wait times for those apprehended by police officers under the Mental Health Act (MHA), poor patient follow-up, and frustration between services (Cotton, 2004). Recently, some police services have begun to implement formal agreements with local hospitals to enhance collaboration in Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) in caring for those in MH crisis. The purpose of this study was to investigate these emerging agreements to gain insight into how they collectively framed their partnerships and responsibilities, identified their common objectives, and emphasized significant concerns in the context of MHA apprehensions. A Social Arena (Star & Griesemer, 1989) theoretical framework was used to argue that MOUs act as “boundary objects” (p.393). The boundary object comes into play when the diverse worlds, values and ideologies of the police service and the ER service come together to shape their collaboration, negotiate identities and roles, and bridge gaps in cooperating. Implications of such boundary objects are discussed.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season