Agencies Involved in the Oklahoma City Bombing


In the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, a lot of organizations came to the rescue both locally and internationally. The challenge herein was not in terms of respondents but rather their collaboration owing to the different frameworks that each had on its own. This paper discusses the main organizations that were responsible for the successful handling of this incident and how they have managed to work together effectively despite their functional and structural differences. Thus, the key question here would be which of the organization was willing to step aside and follow the lead of another organization. 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation

The FBI is a criminal justice organization that specializes in fighting crimes that are perpetrated against the state. The Oklahoma City bombing targeted a federal building, which housed numerous state security and defense entities. According to Davis (2005) interpretations, the attack was largely perpetrated against the federal government and not just the people of Oklahoma City. It, thus, followed that the FBI became very interested in the incident as soon as it was reported, and they moved in to take charge of the preliminary investigations that fortunately only involved linking the evidence to the suspects who had already been arrested on a different offence by the local police.

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The FBI’s involvement in this case was partly collaborative although they took charge of the investigations. They relied on the local police department to provide information on the suspect and find his accomplices (Lysiak, 2013). This means that the ICS at play here was mainly that of the FBI, with the local police department being reduced to a collaborative role at the FBI’s beck and call. Under different circumstances, this may have been a challenging experience for the local police department but terrorism is better handled at a federal level and, thus, they are willing to comply and assist where necessary.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency

FEMA was a significant organization in terms of the search and rescue efforts that had to take place after the bombing incident. The building had collapsed with over 800 people in it and some were children. The organization, thus, had to help with the search and rescue before it was too late. In this case, it can be seen that the FEMA had to collaborate with a lot of other search and rescue organizations most of whom were highly qualified to do the job. These included the Oklahoma National Guard, the Air Patrol, Air Force and the Red Cross among other local and national organizations. The advantage was that FEMA is the federal agency that is responsible for not only coordinating and monitoring emergency response activities but also training and evaluating other emergency response organizations (Wright, 2007). This means that when they had to work together, the federal agency took on its administrative role and led the rest of the organizations in search and rescue exercises. For this reason, they were able to perform so successfully in their efforts as a unit rather than as different organizations. The coordination allowed each organization to do things their way to achieve the best results.

The Oklahoma City Police

This was a very instrumental organization in as far as the bombing incident was concerned. The local police department not only fortified security around the city but also gave a hand in the search and rescue efforts. With regards to security, they were very careful with suspicious individuals around and on the outskirts of the city (Gumbel & Charles, 2012). This is how they managed to arrest the main suspect, who was found driving out of the city in an unmarked car. The department also helped greatly in the preliminary investigations that placed the main suspect at the scene of the bomb. About the search and rescue support, the police department was best placed to comfort the casualties and reassure the families of the victims that their relatives would be found. Thus, having them around the bomb scene was pivotal to keeping the calm and avoiding panic and despair (Hartmann, Subramaniam & Zerner, 2005). This organization is mostly credited for their willingness to work under federal authorities for effective results, seeing, as they were willing to work with the FBI and FEMA without any difficulties.  

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The American Red Cross

This organization was very instrumental in the search, rescue and recovery support systems at the bombing incident. The organization had both the capacity and structural form for working with other organizations given that they are not only well equipped but very knowledgeable on the subject of emergency response. Thus, it can be stated that among other things, the American Red Cross was the silent leader of operations in this incident. Under the administrative leadership of FEMA, this organization arranged and spearheaded efforts towards finding the casualties and getting them safely to the hospital after giving them the first aid that they needed to stay alive. They also provided the search and rescue teams with all kinds of support ranging from food and water to equipment and morale for the exercise.    


Each organization is wired uniquely to organize their efforts in emergency management as they see fit. This means that the primary ICS is often wired to the needs and objectives of the organization in question. However, there are federal standards that compel these organizations to use common terminologies and take on universal approaches that make it easy for them to work together when the need arises. The collaboration is further made easier by the fact that emergency response training is actually organized by the federal agency and, thus, the standard is consistent across the board. 


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