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Community Safety Fellows: Tomorrow’s Public Safety Leaders

Brianna O'Steen, Ph.D.  | 18 November 2021  |  2 minute read

several community members gather to form the shape of a shield with a few members standing outside the gathering

Mark43 is committed to amplifying unheard voices. To that end, this summer we launched a brand new fellowship program. Our inaugural class of Community Safety Fellows brought together four students from diverse backgrounds to identify problems facing communities and offer solutions. 

Police-community problem-solving. Fellows were given a simple prompt: “How can first responders and communities better engage with one another?” Their answers became compelling approaches for four different case study cities – Baltimore, Boston, Minneapolis, and Pittsburg. One student worked with computer-aided dispatch (CAD) engineers to create an Early Intervention System (EIS) mock-up for addressing burnout in EMTs. Another used sentiment analysis to analyze citizen concerns and responded with product features to increase accessibility for a community data portal.  

The 360° view of a growing SaaS company was also part of the Community Safety Fellowship. Fellows attended presentations from Mark43 leaders to inform their understanding of how a cloud-native public safety technology company transforms ideas into solutions and puts tools into people’s hands — literally — via their mobile devices.

A public policy lens comprised another layer of the fellows’ training. We challenged the fellows to think about who experiences benefits and who bears burdens of different policy designs. These young scholars were encouraged to conduct qualitative fieldwork in their cities to reinforce what they were learning from secondary research and deepen their understanding of socio-political concepts. They spent the latter half of the program interviewing stakeholders, synthesizing data, proposing solutions, and writing policy briefs. They walked away from the fellowship with the ability to clearly articulate key players in a public safety policy arena.   

“Operate with humility” is one of Mark43’s core values. We believe that the best ideas win, no matter who they come from. The Community Safety Summer 2021 cohort reinforced this company principle. We learned a great deal from the fellows and are using their feedback to build a better program. 

We hope to inspire advocates for data-driven best practices to increase public awareness, improve first responder operations, and build community trust. We look forward to continuing this work with bright young people who are passionate about community safety. 

If you wish to nominate yourself or someone you know to become a Mark43 Community Safety Fellow, please let us know. While we value all perspectives, the program will continue to prioritize applications from individuals whose lives have been personally touched by fraught relationships between police and communities. 

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