TRANSFORM911Community of Practice and Workgroups

Community of Practice

Transform911 will gather diverse stakeholder communities to share their lived experiences with one another. Coupled with current research, these communities of practice will build the foundation for Transform911’s future blueprints and policy recommendations that can be used to innovate the nation’s emergency response system.

Soon, Transform911 will bring together these frontline stakeholders to facilitate important conversations and drive reform forward. To build this network, Transform911 will support communities of practice through facilitating informal and formal conversations and connecting individuals and organizations.

If you are interested in contributing your personal experiences, thoughts, or opinions in an informal way, we invite you to contact us at transform911@uchicago.edu or using the form at the bottom of this page. You may also like to attend our convenings.

Workgroups

The formal conversations will take the form of facilitated workgroups around six different topics related to 911 – spanning call handling procedures, governance, alternative hotlines, alternative responders, telecommunicator supports, and technology and infrastructure. Two additional groups, one for 911 history and one for research and data, will support and collaborate with the six core topic groups. Each group will be comprised of researchers, practitioners, community advocates, and other subject matter experts. Workgroup members will have the opportunity to share lessons learned from their fields, forge professional connections, and contribute to a new body of knowledge regarding emergency response. Meeting regularly, workgroups will collaborate to generate material for reports that will be sent to changemakers around the nation. If you are interested in joining a workgroup, please fill out this survey or click the button below.

Resources exist to support participation in these conversations, if needed. We will do our best to accommodate all requests; participation is not guaranteed. We anticipate that being a workgroup member will be a commitment of several hours a month. More details about working groups will be available after their launch.

Workgroup Topics

1. Call Handling Operations

Review all 911 call handling operations, including triage of incoming calls, coding, call-taking scripts, dispatch assignment, quality assurance protocols, behavioral economics, and dispatch deployment. Assess whether/how related policies, procedures, and protocols enable valid and reliable information collection about emergencies, and the efficient and effective dissemination of that information to first responders and, where necessary, to others.

2. Governance

Review governance structures and processes (including laws and state, local, budget considerations/resource constraints, agency operational orders, organizational and decision-making structures, and reporting protocols) to ensure proper quality control, oversight, implementation, and operation of standardized 911 and alternative procedures.

3. 911 History

Review the historic role of 911 systems in racially disparate policing and other first responder practices, and how the legacy of inequitable practices, policies, and legislation informs the way in which policing and other first response systems operates today. Examine the impact of the history of policing and other first response on the disenfranchisement and impoverishment of selected communities today.

4. 911 Hotline Alternatives

Review the strengths and limitations of alternative crisis lines or “hotlines,” including 211, 311, 811, 988, and text lines, along with runaway, domestic violence, and suicide prevention hotlines. To what degree are they viable and effective alternatives to 911 in meeting medical, social-service, and community needs?

5. Alternative First Responders

Review successful and promising practices that provide people with appropriate medical, social-service and community resources (e.g., mental health, substance use, DV/IPV, animal control, traffic calls, noise complaints, false alarms) instead of or in addition to police/EMS/fire response. Responses may be in-person or virtual, and include non-law enforcement government actors, mental health clinicians, and staff of contracted community-based organizations and collectives.

6. PST Supports

Review successful and promising efforts to improve investments in and supports for the public safety telecommunicator (PST) profession. Identify and make recommendations for improvements in: PST skillset requirements, recruitment and retention, training and certification standards, occupational supports, opportunities for advancement, and pay and benefit equity; mental health and wellness needs, including identifying and addressing exposure to trauma and preventing burnout; and potential occupational reclassification/title changes that would elevate telecommunicators’ influence in the public safety hierarchy.

7. 911 Technology and Infrastructure

Review how technology impacts the ability and capacity to ensure that callers’ needs are appropriately identified and met, and the right response at the right time is achieved. Explore new and innovative technologies in the 911 and alternative hotline realm. Examine how technology can enhance data collection, coding, data analytics, and performance metrics associated with effective 911 and alternative response systems, including what types of data and reporting formats are most relevant to the kinds of calls police/EMS and fire respond to.

8. Data, Research, and KPIs

Determine the key performance metrics (KPIs) for evaluating 911 call outcomes, categorizing call types, and consolidating information. Review the existing research base on 911 operations and alternatives, identifying gaps and opportunities to expand the evidence base for successful and promising practices, particularly with regards to providing people with follow-up medical, social-service and community resources after a crisis.

Help us Transform911.

The Health Lab strives to improve public health, its impacts, and how it is discussed. If you identify an area of our work that you believe misses a critical perspective or employs language that needs improvement, please contact us at transform911@uchicago.edu. We welcome your feedback.

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