In 2019, City Council allocated $40,000 to research the feasibility of launching a program
in Oakland modeled after an innovative community-based public safety system in Eugene Oregon known as CAHOOTS. The Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets (CAHOOTS) model operating is widely recognized as a non-law enforcement mobile crisis intervention that has seen significant success since its inception. The program launched 31 years ago, provides mental health first response for crises involving mental illness, homelessness, and addiction.
With the support of the Urban Strategies Council (USC), several stakeholder groups and community members, including people in Oakland’s most impacted communities, engaged in nine months of analysis to determine the best pathway forward. This work resulted in a recommendation for a pilot program in two geographic areas of Oakland.
The City of Oakland initially sought community-based organizations to engage in planning and implementation of an 18-month pilot of the Mobile Assistance Community Responders of Oakland (MACRO) program to serve as a community response program for non-violent 911 calls. The goal is to reduce responses by police, resulting in fewer arrests and negative interactions, and increased access to community-based services and resources for impacted individuals and families, and most especially for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.
However, following a competitive process, City Council determined during the March 2, 2021 City Council meeting that the City should house the pilot program within the Fire Department. The Council subsequently adopted a Resolution No. 88553 to this effect on March 16, 2021. On the same day, the Administration provided an Informational Memo to the Mayor and City Council based on the March 2, 2021 direction, and a subsequent informational memo was issued in April 2021.
Intended MACRO Outcomes and Key Race and Equity Components
Whether MACRO is led by an external community-based organization or the Oakland Fire Department (OFD), the program’s important intended outcomes remain unchanged. They include:
- Decreased negative outcomes from law enforcement response to nonviolent 911 emergency calls, especially among Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC);
- Decreased criminal justice system involvement for people in crisis, especially among Black, Indigenous, People of Color;
- Increased connections to community-based services for people in crisis, especially among Black, Indigenous, and People of Color;
- Redirection of MACRO-identified 911 calls to an alternative community response system;
- Reduced Oakland Police expenses and call volume related to 911 nonviolent calls involving people with mental health, substance use, and unsheltered individuals.
Four Frequently Asked Questions:
What geographic areas will MACRO cover?
The pilot will initially launch in East and West Oakland. Funding is available to initially have three teams on two shifts, day and swing, seven days a week with functioning hours of 07:00-15:00 and 15:00-23:00, respectively. After a thorough evaluation of the community's needs, addressing any safety issues, and a clear contingency plan, OFD will consider and plan for a 24/7 deployment with full city-wide coverage once the pilot is complete.
How many MACRO teams will be deployed and what will they respond to?
At the outset, there will be three teams working two shifts during the 18-month pilot. The incident calls or “call types” the program will initially focus on are considered “quality of life” calls. Meetings with OPD were convened to review incident types and trends for days/times for service call history in the geographic identified areas for the pilot.
As of the date of this report, the Fire Department has identified the following call determinates that a MACRO team would be dispatched for:
- Intoxicated/Drunk in Public
- Disorderly Juveniles - group
- Disturbance Auto - noise, revving engine
- Disturbance Drinkers
- Loud Music - Noise complaint
- Drunk - Oakland term
- Drunk in Vehicle
- Evaluation for Community Assessment Treatment and Transport Team (CATT) response
- Incorrigible Juvenile
- Found Senile
- Indecent Exposure
- Standby Preserve the Peace
- Check Well Being
Who is responsible for the MACRO program’s policy development?
The Program Manager for MACRO will be responsible for policy and procedure development. The new Program Analyst for MACRO Service Division (MSD), and the Fire Division Manager for MSD amongst other Fire Operational support will support this task.
What is the projected launch date of the MACRO program?
The very optimistic hope is for the program to be on the street in early November 2021 and as late as February 2022. The city’s ability to hire and train the MACRO personnel will be a key determinate in the official launch date for the pilot program.
Please view the September 14 Informational Report to the Public Safety Committee on the status of this Pilot Program. You can find the report here.
An adjustment was made to the report in the Fiscal Impact Section on page 7.
Here is our best explanation of where the MACRO spending and balances in question stand (as of September 14, 2021):
In FY 2020-21, the City Council appropriated $1,850,000 from the General Purpose Fund (Fund 1010) to the Department of Violence Prevention for the MACRO program pilot (Project # 1005384).
In October 2020, the City entered into a professional services contract, in an amount not to exceed $249,000, with the Jeweld Legacy Group, to provide planning, training and technical assistance for the MACRO pilot program.
As of August 25, 2021, the Jeweld Legacy Group has submitted invoices for and has been paid a total of $121,696.50.
In addition, as of August 25, 2021, $343.02 has been paid to Accent on Languages, Inc.
To date, the MACRO program pilot (Project # 1005384) has expended a total of $122,039.52 of the original $1,850,000.00 FY 2020-21 Budget, leaving a total remaining balance of $1,727,960.48.
Vena Sword Ratliff, Oakland Fire Dept., Medical Services Division, email@example.com
Michael Hunt, Oakland Fire Dept., Public Information Officer, Mhunt@oaklandca.gov