First Response

See the code.  Project Tracker Board

See the code. Project Tracker Board



Bridging Mental Health and Policing

FirstResponse was a winning hackathon idea in 2018 based on using technology and design to help first responders in the work they do. The original vision was called “EI” which was a SAAS platform and application that uses facial recognition software to provide first responders access to people’s emergency information to resolve their issue. The hypothesis of this idea was that facial recognition could help first responders in the work that they do.

The American Bar Association Racial & Ethical Coalition gave a grant to build out working prototypes for these ideas and bringing on technical leaders to support with volunteers getting these apps proposed to Public Safety in Miami to test then later select an app prototype to pilot within the city.


Using research and interaction to inform design.

We found a local developer group with people of color technologists called DevNoir who met and brainstormed the idea. The purpose of this work was to challenge the notion that the problem and proposed solution of addressing it worked. The team of 3 UX Designers with 20+ years of experienced reached the conclusion that the original solution was not an effective solution and would not be utilized in the workforce.

We held a series of conversations with lawyers, technologists, developers, designers and more to rethink the problem and the method of addressing it. We utilized delivery-driven government and agile methodology with a team of volunteers to come up with a prototype that reflects solving a need that could be scaled in other cities if successful.

We leveraged research from Code for America’s work in Seattle Police Department to recognize the need of helping police find and navigate redirecting people who have mental health and addiction issues from the justice system into the human and social service system. The solution.

The Solution

Local Policing meets Human & Health Services

BadgeWatch is an application that uses facial recognition to help police identify those with mental health and addiction issues redirecting them from the criminal justice system into the health human service. We do this through an app interface that leverages data to point police to the right resources

Open Data & API Strategy

Scale the use of public interest technology.

First Response is built to enable municipalities to further their open data policies to:

  1. Help specialized crisis response officers review these incidents and follow up with the most acute cases – contacting the person's caseworker, speaking to their family, and connecting the individual with local services.

  2. Help the City of Miami police train patrol officers to respond to crisis calls and to use de-escalation techniques with citizens in crisis

  3. Use facial recognition responsibly to help folks through the Baker Act in identifying mental health and addiction problems with people helping address the broader issue of getting people the right help they need.

We are looking for testers? Is this you? Then register here.