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A liaison officer works to improve communication and coordination between different entities, for example various organizations, agencies, corporations, or military units. Sometimes, a liaison officer, also called an LNO, can function as a link to a specific community, for example an ethnic group and institutions or organizations such as the police force. In the military, a liaison officer can work as the official go-between between two allied forces, under the command of different national military organizations or between different units within the same military force. During large military operations, like military occupations, this work is often essential to share information related to the activities of military personnel, in order to prevent casualties due to collateral damage and friendly fire. A liaison officer is usually a highly trained and experienced professional in his own organization, and will often perform most of his active work within the community or organization he liaises with.
One common use for a liaison officer is within emergency and disaster management. This work can include coordinating disaster relief, where a liaison officer is the primary contact for all types of organizations and agencies that are responding to a certain situation. A requirement for this type of employment is often both a high-level degree and several years of related work experience.
A police liaison officer can work as a representative of the police force in a specific community, for example at a school, community center, or in a public housing project. This work often aims to increase public safety by improving relations with the community. The liaison officer will work to build trust in and spread information about the police force, as well as functioning as a contact person within the community for people who have complaints or grievances. Police liaison officers are usually experienced police officers. Liaison officers can also be involved in helping various law-enforcement agencies involved in major crime investigations share information.
In the corporate world, liaison officers can work to coordinate and facilitate the completion of projects that require the cooperation of several different companies. They can also work as a contact person between financial institutions such as banks and companies that require financial services. There are also school liaison officers who help students and their families with transitions to new classes or new schools. In Canada, field liaison officers work for the national agency Elections Canada during national elections, offering services and support to local electoral districts.