Seattle, WA has joined with Code for America on two fellowships: in 2011 on civic engagement and in 2016 on safety and justice efforts.
The Seattle Police Department engaged Code for America to help develop software to divert individuals with mental health and addiction issues away from the criminal justice system and connect them to health, housing, and social services. In 2015, the Seattle police responded to 9,675 calls to 911 that involved a person in a mental health and/or chemical dependency-related crisis. Specialized crisis response officers reviewed these incidents and followed up with the most acute cases – contacting the person's caseworker, speaking to their family, and connecting the individual with local services. The Seattle police also train patrol officers to respond to crisis calls and to use de-escalation techniques with citizens in crisis.
The Seattle fellowship team worked to develop an app for patrol officers to use during interactions with individuals in crisis. Focused on tailored plans for individuals who are frequently in contact with the police, this tool included information such as who to call (family members, caseworker, etc.) and specific action steps to help the person.
See more about their project here. Get updates on the project here.
Local team leads
- Bill Schrier, CIO, Seattle Police Department
- Lt. Martin Rivera, Crisis Response Unit, Seattle Police Department
- Sgt. Dan Nelson, Crisis Response Unit, Seattle Police Department
- Sgt. Eric Pisconski, Crisis Response Unit, Seattle Police Department
Code for America partnered with Seattle to make it easier for the city to communicate with a variety of civic leaders including block watch captains and neighborhood council leaders. After a month of research, the fellows built a map interface offering info on local community groups while also deploying Change by Us – an online marketplace for community projects to encourage volunteerism. While the app launched initially in New York, Change By Us continues to be deployed and receive updates from a variety of supporters.
This team’s most successful project was perhaps Iconathon. Iconathon is an event series where community members create a set of graphic symbols for public domain that communicate concepts in civic design. Now supported by the Noun Project, Iconathons have created public domain symbols for concepts like “human rights”, “food bank”, “electric car”, and “sustainable energy” across the nation. To check out those icons visit The Noun Project website.
Local team leads
- Amy Hirotaka
- Bill Schrier
- Bruce Blood
- Julie O’Brien