Stand Together Ventures Lab selects 11 solutions for the Unbundle Policing Accelerator
On February 12, Stand Together Ventures Lab launched the Unbundle Policing Accelerator, the second of two phases in the Unbundle Policing: Reimagine Public Safety Challenge. Unbundled policing aims to shift aspects of traditional policing responsibilities to other members of the community — social services departments, medical professionals, nonprofits, and others — to address public safety challenges where they have expertise. The Challenge accelerates innovations that change how police and non-law enforcement organizations work side-by-side to strengthen communities. These options will improve well-being and allow law enforcement to focus on reducing crime in our neighborhoods.
Incubating and accelerating community-based alternatives
Phase One of the Unbundle Policing Challenge was an Incubator led by Stand Together Ventures Lab in partnership with MIT Solve. We supported over 250 entrepreneurs in developing or strengthening solutions that reduce adverse law enforcement encounters across the US. Participants were provided expert instruction and mentorship, the opportunity to network with other innovators in the space, and access in-kind resources
Phase Two began this month. In the Accelerator phase, the 11 selected teams will receive a $50,000 grant and access to coaching, subject matter experts, and other resources over the next six months to help them pilot and/or grow their solutions.
And the winners are…
Why these projects are important
Accelerator applicants were evaluated on criteria such as impact potential, innovative approach, and market opportunity. We looked for solutions with a clear understanding of long-term market potential and solutions that would meaningfully impact the population they were trying to serve.
The 11 selected teams are working on solutions in three areas where innovation would allow communities to transform their approach to public safety:
- Direct services. Innovations like On Scene Services (OSS) and Standing with Survivors provide direct services to residents, taking pressure off law enforcement and allowing community-based solutions to drive responses. A nonprofit based in New Orleans, OSS provides alternative police response for traffic management and auto accident investigations. Standing with Survivors is a community-based, multi-disciplinary mobile crisis response team for individuals experiencing domestic abuse.
- Technologies. Technology can improve communications and help route community members to services they need instead of law enforcement. Seventy percent of 911 call centers do not accept texts. AccesSOS has created a free mobile app that will connect individuals who cannot call 911 (e.g. who are deaf, mute or otherwise would benefit from use of an application rather than phone call). Another team utilizing technology to reduce unnecessary or adverse interactions with police is SevenStar, Inc.’s PROTECTED app for contactless police-citizen interactions which uses accountability and transparency to drive safer outcomes.
- Restoring police-community trust. Distrust between police and the communities can build over generations resulting in broken down trust. A nonprofit based in Melbourne, Fla., Hey, Blue! aims to help police officers and the communities they serve better understand each other through incentivizing human connections. Another team, ReWire4, is offering support to officers through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy tools that help them understand and address trauma in their lives, and approach high-risk situations with greater awareness of the mental stresses at play, which based on results so far is a more effective approach than standard de-escalation training.
Learn more about accelerator participants here.
Each of our 11 teams are committed to reimagining the country’s front-end criminal justice system. Over the next six months, they will collaborate closely with us and with each other to rapidly accelerate their progress.
The accelerator will catalyze their efforts with guided goal-setting, connections to our robust network of criminal justice organizations and law enforcement, focused content sessions, and collaborative cohort-wide events. At the culmination of the challenge, we will evaluate partnering more deeply with the most promising solutions.
If you’re interested in learning more or are considering offering additional support to these 11 teams, reach out to us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.