A Guide for Ann Arbor City Officials To Improved Public Safety Services

F. Evaluation

        (Numbering of principles is continuous through sections A - F.)

   11.  City and County officials should assess whether adopted policies and procedures are increasing the ease and comfort of residents

in accessing crisis response services.  The reluctance, and absolute refusal in many cases, of many residents to call 911 and other numbers that may result in a response from police is a major problem.  The reluctance leaves residents subject to handling crises without help from public services.  Those most likely to be underserved for this reason are people who are Black, Brown, poor, unhoused, or immigrants — the same groups underserved in so many other ways.  The City and County should implement two surveys with the following characteristics:

                a.   The initial surveys should occur in January-June 2022 and create baseline data on the extent of reluctance.  The surveys should

be repeated approximately every two years to assess changes in reluctance.

 

                 b.  One survey should sample households (housing units), with one exception, in neighborhoods or groups which we hypothesize

contain disproportionately large numbers of residents reluctant to call telephone numbers designed to provide access to crisis response services.  These neighborhoods and groups, often overlapping, might include

  • Neighborhoods that are disproportionately Black

  • Neighborhoods that are disproportionately Brown

  • Neighborhoods that are disproportionately poor

  • Neighborhoods that are disproportionately home to immigrants

  • Households living in publicly supported housing

  • People (this is the exception to the household framework) with unstable or inadequate housing

The field workers gathering information from household members and individuals in the sample should be hired from the sampled group in order to be seen as trustworthy.  The field workers should survey in-person to increase  the response rate.  The sample will probably be small because this methodology is expensive.

 

                 c.  The other survey should seek the views of key informants.  Key informants are people likely to have direct personal or work-

related experience with the reluctance to call among members of groups such as those listed in b).  A short paper or on-line survey with a follow-up telephone contact as necessary should work for this group.  The following are examples of potential key informants.  In some cases directors may ask case managers to respond.

  • Abdullah Amin, Imam, The Muslim Community Association of Ann Arbor

  • Bonnie Bill's, Jr., Executive Director, Peace Neighborhood Center

  • Judy Gardner, Executive Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness - Washtenaw County (NAMI-WC)

  • Krista Girty, Executive Director, Ozone House

  • Dan Kelly, Executive Director, Shelter Association of Washtenaw County

  • Jan Little, Chief Executive Officer, Michigan Ability Partners

  • Derrick Miller, Executive Director, Community Action Network

  • Aubrey Patiño, Executive Director, Avalon Housing

  • Lori Roddy, Executive Director, Neutral Zone

  • Peri Stone-Palmquist, Executive Director, Student Advocacy Center of Michigan (based in Ypsilanti)

  • Rhonda Weathers, Executive Director, SOS Community Services

  • Brent Williams, Medical Director, Complex Care Management Program, Michigan Medicine

  • One or more pastors of predominately Black congregations

  • Representative from the Michigan Immigrants Rights Center (has an office in Ypsilanti)

 

                 d.  If local public officials design i) a thoughtful program that integrates 988 into a network of contact numbers for problem-

solving and crisis response and ii) an objective evaluation methodology, funding of the program and the evaluation should be available from governmental or other funders.  For example, Federal policymakers seek localities that can serve as models for others.  They will also seek feedback based on objective data that show the strengths and weaknesses of the 988 system.  This information would enable informed adjustments to improve the system of contact numbers for problem-solving and crisis response.  For another example, just a few days ago Michigan lawmakers approved laws creating i) the community crisis response grant program (Public Act 162 of 2021) and ii) the behavioral health jail diversion grant program (Public Act 163 of 2021).

 

Use these links to go to other parts of the "Guide for Ann Arbor City Officials ...."

A.  Deflect and Diversion from Law Enforcement To Help Through Counseling and Therapy

B.  Respond To the Current Crisis Among Children and Youth

C.  Recognize 988 Will Soon Take Its Place Alongside 911

D.  Recognize and Utilize Local Expertise

E.  Recognize People -- Not Abstract "Institutions" -- Implement Policies