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City of San José Collaborates with to Improve 9-1-1 and 3-1-1 Response Times

San José joins other municipalities and Google to celebrate the first-ever National 311 Day to honor call-takers

Post Date:03/11/2020 11:00 AM

Media Contacts:

 Rachel Davis, Office of Mayor Liccardo,, 408.712.9149

Mara Harris,,, 650.713.9868


SAN JOSE, CA -- At the beginning of 2019, San José’s City Auditor and the Civil Grand Jury of Santa Clara County issued reports highlighting the need for improvements during 9-1-1 and 3-1-1 call handling. In an effort to achieve these improvements, the City of San José received a Fellowship. Through the Fellowship, 7 Google employees worked pro bono full-time for 6 months with a multi-department team at the City to reduce 9-1-1 and 3-1-1 response times, improve customer service experience, make 3-1-1 more accessible to residents, and address the growing load on call centers with innovative new solutions.

The Fellows started by analyzing call volumes to understand what was contributing to the issue, shadowed 60+ hours of calls, led a design sprint to identify the most impactful opportunities, and tackled the following key areas to drive improvements:

  • Rerouted all city service call types to 311, a nationally recognized non-emergency number;
  • Ensured inclusive access to City resources across mobile carriers by activating 311 on Verizon and T-Mobile;
  • Developed a marketing campaign to educate the public about when to use 311 vs 911 (burning question vs burning building), as well as what to do when you dial 911 accidentally (stay on the line so they don’t have to call back) and;
  • Piloted automation for specific call types (e.g. abandoned vehicles) through a virtual agent prototype which will be ready later this year

“As our city grows, so does the impact on our 9-1-1 and 3-1-1 call centers. With Silicon Valley’s greatest minds in our backyard -- and scarce public resources -- we have the opportunity to leverage innovation and technology to improve service and shorten response times,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo. “We’re grateful that is applying their employees’ expertise to help us improve public safety response time, and address this critical civic challenge."   

One of the main issues highlighted in the report was the amount of time it took for first responders to answer service calls. The State of California requires that 95 percent of 9‑1‑1 calls be answered within fifteen seconds. In 2017, San José met only 82.76 percent of this requirement and 94.1 percent in 2018.

“This is an amazing opportunity to leverage ‘Googler’ expertise in support of the City of San José’s efforts to aid residents,” said Erin Hattersley, Manager. “With this project, Fellows will help protect the lives and safety of San José residents through improvements to 9-1-1 and 3-1-1 response times." selected San José for the Fellowship because of the City’s innovative approach to solving big challenges, and the potential impact of their goal to make improvements to existing 9-1-1 and 3-1-1 response times to positively impact the City’s ability to serve its residents and enhance public safety. 

The City of San José is one of the first municipalities to be selected for the Fellowship program. The Fellowship leverages the expertise and innovation of Google employees to address civic challenges. Google delivered 50,000 hours of pro bono work worldwide in 2019 through the Fellowship and plans to extend the program to additional cities and nonprofits in 2020.

San José collaborated with Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland, the County of Santa Clara, and Google to secure and launch National 3-1-1 Day to celebrate call-takers. The first-ever National 3-1-1 Day will be celebrated at San José’s City Hall with a proclamation presented to on Tuesday.



About the City of San José
With more than one million residents, San José is one of the most diverse cities in the United States and is Northern California’s largest city and the 10th largest city in the nation. San José’s transformation into a global innovation center has resulted in one of the largest concentrations of technology companies and skilled residents in the world. In 2016, the City adopted the San José Smart City Vision, a series of goals to build towards greater needs for sustainability, inclusivity, customer friendliness, safety, and better services through transformative technologies.

About, Google's philanthropy, supports organizations that address humanitarian issues worldwide and apply scalable, data-driven innovation to solving the world's biggest challenges. We accelerate their progress by connecting them with a unique blend of support that includes funding, products, and technical expertise from Google volunteers. We want a world that works for everyone—and we believe technology and innovation can move the needle.  

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