We’ve had the opportunity in recent weeks to print stories about instances of cooperation between local fire departments — specifically the Clinton County Fire Chiefs Association tour of a new mobile command center and a grant from Lyondell that will buy identical equipment for the Clinton and Camanche departments — and it’s served as an excellent reminder of how some agencies are able to work together.

It’s not just firefighters, of course. Law enforcement offices also have shown an ability to mutually assist each other, be it in response to an isolated incident that happens to cross state lines or a more formal arrangement such as the Gateway area Hazardous Entry and Approach Team or various regional drug task forces.

The common thread between these and other cooperative agreements seems to be public safety. The people who arrest criminals, fight fires and drive ambulances appear to have an understanding that all citizens need protection regardless of jurisdiction.

We’re starting to see agreements like this creep into other areas of the public sector as well, such as Camanche and Clinton working toward construction of a new wastewater treatment plant. City councils in both towns realized the potential cost savings possible with a joint facility and acted in the best interests of the citizens of both towns. It’s not a step toward consolidation, but an understanding that in some cases there is strength in numbers.

That’s not the only example, of course, and we don’t mean to slight any others by omission. But it does stand in stark contrast to the ongoing dispute between the Clinton and Camanche school boards, which are at odds over land Clinton owns in the Camanche district. Camanche’s insistence that Clinton move off of land it bought from the state in an open process is handcuffing Clinton’s ability to address its need for a new physical plant.

That need goes from future to present just after the first of the year when Clinton turns over possession of the former Irving school to Archer Daniels Midland. Absent the cooperation — or at least understanding and acceptance — we see among other government bodies, we’re not sure how or when this will be resolved.

All government is public service, whether that service is safety, sanitation or education. Cooperation, not undue conflict, truly benefits us all.