A Sample Process for Developing a Community Based Emergency First Responders (EFR) Program

ACTION STEPS AND DECISION POINTS: FROM IDEA TO IMPLEMENTATION

1. Pass ordinance or make motion that sets out the broad goal of a civilian-led and -operated program.

2. Identify who will be responsible for implementation.

  • Who will be on the Executive Working Group?
  • What subgroups will be created and what staff is needed to start the decision- making process?

3. Research and establish answers to or make decisions on the following logistical questions.

  • How are 911 calls and other calls for service currently routed to police, fire, ambulance or other systems?
  • Will the system use the 911 dispatch or a separate number?
  • What category of calls will get routed to civilian emergency first responders (EFR)?
  • How are calls referred to the EFR Team?
    • What technology will be used?
    • How will it be provided to the EFR team and how will the EFR team communicate back?
  • Who will make the decision to route incoming calls to an EFR team?
  • Who staffs the EFR team?
    • Will a currently existing non-law enforcement city department house this program?
    • Will a new department be created?
  • How will data be collected on calls responded to by EFR/Police/Fire/Ambulance?
  • How will the EFR program components be funded?
    • Technology
    • Employment
    • Training
    • Oversight
    • Data collection
  • What systems need to be in place to start and operate (detailed logistics)?
    • Equipment/technology
    • Training for all workers, e.g. EFR team members, dispatchers
    • Contracts/legal counsel
  • How will continued implementation/improvement be monitored and evaluated?

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EXAMPLE: HOW PORTLAND, OREGON MOVED FROM IDEA TO IMPLEMENTATION

This is how Portland, Oregon developed their pilot program for Portland Street Response, which began in one neighborhood as a pilot program. In June 2020, the Council voted to expand Portland Street Response throughout the city and to expand its hours of operation.

The legislation began with a budget note and a directive to create a Public Safety and Operations Working Group to design and implement the program.

1. There was a Budget Note from Commissioner Hardesty, approved by the council, to fund a pilot program, the Portland Street Response.

2. A Public Safety and Operations Working Group was formed to propose actions for a 3- year timeline

3. The Executive Team for the Portland PSWG was comprised of

  • the Chief of Police
  • the Chief of Portland Fire and Rescue (PFR)
  • the Chief of Portland Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC) Â the Chief of Portland Bureau of Emergency Management (PBEM)
  • the Chief Administrative Officer of City of Portland

A Staff Team was directed by the head of PBEM, and a Program Manager was recruited to guide the work.

4. The Community Engagement Work Group met and conducted research with stakeholders, including the police and the Bureau of Emergency Management, and generated a report with recommendations

5. At the end of this process with the community and stakeholders, an implementation plan with detailed logistics was made.

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THIS IS THE PRODUCT OF THE JUSTICE COLLABORATIVE POLICING TASK FORCE

Austin City Councilmember Gregorio Casar

Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis

Philadelphia City Councilmember At-Large Helen Gym

Portland Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty

Rochester City Councilmember Mary Lupien

San Francisco Supervisor Hillary Ronen

 

Professor Jody Armour, Roy P. Crocker Professor of Law, University of Southern California

Professor Alex S. Vitale, Professor of Sociology, Brooklyn College, CUNY

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