About Code for America
Mission & Vision: Code for America is a non-partisan, civic technology organization founded in 2009 to improve government services for all, starting with those who need them most. Our vision focuses on how the government can work for the people, by the people, in the digital age. Our mission is further to work shoulder to shoulder with community organizations and government to build digital tools and services, change policies, and improve programs.
Core Principles & Expertise: At Code for America, our core principles focus on strengthening the social safety net, shrinking the criminal legal system, promoting economic justice through tax benefits, and mobilizing our national network. Our expertise includes developing human-centered design, using data-driven strategies, incorporating qualitative research reflecting those we serve, and providing digital delivery of mobile social safety net services.
What is 911? Nearly everyone in the US has heard of 911. It is one of the most ubiquitous government services and one of the main ways that people interact with the government when they have an urgent need. In the USA, the overarching 911 system is huge and fragmented. There are more than 6,000 jurisdictions that operate as ECCs (emergency communications centers) where 911 professionals process incoming 911 emergency calls for service and dispatch first responders in the community: police, fire, EMS and in some cities, alternative responders.
Reimagine911: In the USA, the 911 system facilitates emergency response to hundreds of millions of calls each year—but by design or default, the system initiates an armed law enforcement response whether that’s what a situation calls for or not. Consequently, we’ve initiated Reimagine911 to transform the way our government provides emergency response services. There is an important opportunity here, but very little is understood about the system as a whole and its levers for change. That’s where Reimagining911 and Code for America have begun reimagining reducing reliance on policing and strengthening safety net services.
Reimagine911 Launched at 9th National Day of Hacking 2021: On September 18, 2021, Code for America launched Reimagining911 at its 9th Annual National Day of Civic Hacking. Volunteers from 280 organizations and 48 Code for America Brigades dedicated more than 2,500 hours to exploring 911 calls for service data on open data portals in 384 jurisdictions. Volunteers developed 17 case studies, 16 data analysis projects, and 9 prototype projects—a massive feat in one day! Now we are continuing this work through our different Working Groups. Take a look below, read about our working groups, and see what might interest you…
Reimagine911 & Transform911 Partnership: Reimagining911 has partnered with Transform911, located at the University of Chicago Health Lab, to evaluate how the 911 emergency response systems work around the United States. Together they are further developing national recommendations for 911 technology and infrastructure.
About Joining Reimagine911 Working Groups
Learning and Development Working Group
The Learning and Development Working Group creates uniform, high-quality foundational understandings of the 911 system for our Reimagine911 community. This working group further develops innovative ways of supplementing the depth of exploration into 911 data and spike topics for the Reimagine911 community.
Data Discovery Working Group — Projects Complete
The Data Discovery Working Group continues the national research initiated at the National Day of Civic Hacking from September 18, 2021. Working group members locate 911 calls for service datasets at public safety answering points (PSAPs) or 911 emergency communications centers (ECCs). They explore these datasets using spreadsheets or SQL queries to identify trends and answers to 911 questions.
Data Analysis Working Group
The Data Analysis Working Group is designed to analyze 911 calls for service datasets to understand whether the 911 emergency response system is effective and human-centered in meeting the needs of those who need it most. Working group members further draw connections between public 911 data and other datasets to identify trends, and use data visualization to create graphs, dashboards, and other illustrations that help surface insights from 911 data. Members are also developing prototype projects to understand the potential for an idea, and provide the foundation for further exploration and ideation.
Data Description Working Group
The Data Description Working Group is designed to establish a solid, consistent understanding of 911 data, and an ongoing system for coding it. The Data Description working group picks up where Data Discovery leaves off — this is phase 2 of our open data project. With the open data now sourced, we need to go in and actually describe what’s in the data sets. This work is fascinating in part because it shows you just how fragmented and inconsistent data practices are in the current 911 ecosystem.
About Code for America – Code of Conduct
We expect all volunteers to adhere to the Code of Conduct at every Code for America or Code for America Brigade event. The Code is available at: https://codeforamerica.org/code-of-conduct/