Improving Public Safety Response through Innovation

City: Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Reporting to: Senior Assistant to the City Manager

The Challenge

Fort Lauderdale residents have expressed a desire to improve public safety through conversations with elected officials as well as through community surveys. Based on the most recent statistically valid resident survey, only 38% of survey respondents rated the overall sense of safety in the city positively. To remedy this pressing issue, city leadership sees the need to be innovative, devising new solutions that center the “how” and “why” there is dissatisfaction with public safety in a reliable and equitable way. This is a key priority for the city’s leadership (Mayor and City Manager) as defined in the City’s Strategic Plan and Annual City Commission Priorities, and they have directed staff and law enforcement to establish new ways to better serve the community.

Addressing and improving the sense of public safety, including considering police response times, is also the focus of the city’s participation in the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative’s Innovation Track through which a cross-departmental city team is learning innovation techniques to engage residents and test, adapt, and scale creative ideas to tackle this priority. As part of this initiative, the city’s Innovation Track Team is engaging with a range of residents to gain insight into their first-hand experiences and perceptions. The summer fellow will work side-by-side with the Innovation Track Team to help the city deliver on its initial ideas and solutions emerging from the track’s work and continue progress towards the city’s goal to improve residents’ sense of safety and city response. In addition, the work of the summer fellow will support the integration and expansion of innovation, as a result of the Innovation Track, to other challenges and departments throughout the city in partnership with the city’s Structural Innovation Division. As a result of gaining deeper residential insights and positively leveraging new methods of problem solving, a successful summer fellowship will support the implementation of initiative(s) developed to improve the perception of public safety and police response times.

  • How might the city implement the initiative chosen for testing as part of the Innovation Track Team’s work on improving perception of public safety and police response times?

  • How might the city incorporate the lessons learned in the Innovation Track to scale innovation throughout the city?

What You’ll Do

Working together with the Innovation Track Team, comprised of representatives from the City Manager’s Office, Mayor’s Office, Police Department, Structural Innovation Division, Neighbor Support Division, Development Services Department, Solid Waste and Recycling, Fire Rescue Department, and Organizational Development and Learning, the fellow will support the implementation plan coming out of the Innovation Track’s research and help the city scale new resident-engaged ways of working across City Hall.

Key Deliverables Include:

  1. Refinement and implementation of the Innovation Track’s chosen initiative for testing. This includes benchmarking the planned effort and associated outcomes established against other cities and established standards.
  2. Testing/planning around at least one of the other initiatives from the portfolio of initiatives developed by the Innovation Track Team to improve resident’s sense of safety and city response.
  3. Plan to scale innovation methods learned in the track to other existing portfolios within the city in partnership with the Structural Innovation Division.
  4. A presentation to key stakeholders, including the Mayor and City Manager, of the fellow’s recommendations and any observed results.

What You’ll Bring

The fellow will be expected to possess the following skills:

  • Data analysis and research
  • Performance measurement and monitoring
  • Communications
  • Design-based thinking
  • Writing and editing
  • Preparing and leading presentations
  • Ability to communicate with cross-departmental teams


Back to Summer Fellowships page.

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