Urban Strategies Council

Using Data and Community Resources to Divert Non–Life Threatening 911 Calls

East Oakland, CA

Police contacts for noncriminal, nonviolent emergency calls often lead to unnecessary incarceration and involuntary hospitalizations, sometimes escalate to violence, and drain emergency response resources. Recognizing this, the City of Oakland Fire Department will launch a community-based pilot program called Mobile Assistance Community Responders of Oakland (or MACRO) in fall 2021. This program will provide an alternative to police response and incarceration by diverting non–life threatening 911 calls to nearby community resources.

With Catalyst Grant funding, Urban Strategies Council, in partnership with the Department of Violence Prevention, will support the new program by assessing the data needs and recommending the types of data to collect to effectively operate and evaluate the pilot. The team will suggest technologies to collect data, conduct internal analyses, and share aggregate data with the public. Urban Strategies Council will also curate a list of community resources specifically for MACRO program staff from existing lists of community assets. Lastly, to understand the perspectives of people impacted by the 911 emergency system, Urban Strategies Council will survey residents of East Oakland who have used the 911 system to learn about their hopes and expectations for the pilot program, inform its early operations, and provide a baseline for future evaluation.