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In the United States at least 240 million calls are made to 911 each year for medical emergencies, fires, serious crimes in progress as well as a large number of mental health, quality of life, or behavioral concerns. In an era of calls for police reform and changing the experiences of those that interact with first responders, a national initiative, Transform911: https://www.transform911.org/ , led by Dr. S. Rebecca Neusteter, Executive Director of the University of Chicago Health Lab, has focused on a key component of the first response architecture, the 911 call system.
Transform 911 has developed a blueprint for the future of America’s first First Responders, Emergency Communicators and the Telecommunicators Profession. Sheriff Clayton stated that he was “honored to be asked to participate and to co-chair the Transform911 Governance sub-committee”. Sheriff Clayton also noted that, “While I believe that the WCSO has already taken significant steps towards evolving 911 response in Washtenaw County. We also recognize the need to continue to learn and grow, in order to improve our service. This is especially true in the critical areas of equity and alternative response.’
Building upon years of research and foundational work, a 911 convening took place on July 30, 2019, in July 2020 the Transform911 initiative launched and, in the Spring of 2021, Transform911 announced that, “Over a one-year period, Transform911 would engage 100+ stakeholders from around the country to examine the research, learn from promising practices and local pilots, and articulate a highly ambitious and highly reasoned consensus document—this blueprint for 911 transformation”. On June 29, 2022, this blueprint was released publicly during a third Transform911 convening in New Orleans, Louisiana. To read the whole report see: https://cpb-us-w2.wpmucdn.com/voices.uchicago.edu/dist/e/2911/files/2022/07/Transform911-Blueprint-for-Change.pdf
The Blueprint Report recognizes that, “We find ourselves with a 911 system that is under-resourced; under-staffed; not understood by the general public; not well positioned to nimbly adapt to future needs; and as a result, often ill equipped to adequately triage and deploy resources to ensure the right response is dispatched at the right time. 911 is also situated in a larger context of systems that have historically responded to people very differently based upon personal characteristics and geographies.”
Transform911 and the Blueprint Report are intended to address these challenges facing the 911 system and to help lead transformational change in the arena of response to calls for service. The hoped for outcomes that would result from implementation of these recommendations would be an emergency response system where all people are treated fairly and equitably, with the appropriate response and responders based on the needs of the public and the individuals involved. This would lead to increased safety and wellness in our communities and a better quality of life for our residents.