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 Oakland City Council allocated funding for a community-based pilot program called Mobile Assistance Community Responders of Oakland (or MACRO) housed in the Oakland Fire Department. A manager for MACRO was hired and has been meeting with Urban Strategies Council, which supported the city’s research into the program. 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 developed a survey for East Oakland residents who have used the 911 system. Through the survey, it aimed to learn about residents’ hopes and expectations for MACRO, inform its early operations, provide a baseline for future evaluation, and understand the perspectives of people affected by the 911 emergency system. Throughout the grant period, Urban Strategies Council has strengthened internal data and technological capacity and built additional infrastructure to support data-driven work moving forward. Urban Strategies Council will continue its work in support of the MACRO pilot program.
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