• Digital Counties Survey 2021 750 New

Sonoma County Ranks 6th in 2021 Digital Counties Survey

2021 Digital Counties Survey Recognizes Leaders with Creative Governance, Data-driven Strategies, Digital Equity Initiatives, and Enhanced Cybersecurity.

The Center for Digital Government (CDG) and the National Association of Counties (NACo) have announced the winners of the 19th annual Digital Counties Survey. The survey, conducted by CDG in partnership with NACo, identifies the best technology practices among U.S. counties, including initiatives that streamline delivery of government services; encourage open data, collaboration, and shared services; enhance cybersecurity; and contribute to disaster response and recovery efforts.

“Top-notch counties are utilizing the governance frameworks, investment tools, broadband implementations and more that were put in place in response to citizen needs around COVID-19…then capitalizing on those going forward to support digital experience initiatives,” said Phil Bertolini, vice-president, CDG. “The Center for Digital Government congratulates this year’s winners for their accomplishments and continuing efforts to use technology to make government better.”

“The coronavirus pandemic underscored the urgent need for bold, cutting-edge approaches to serving our residents, and technology has played a major role,” said NACo Executive Director Matthew Chase. “This year’s Digital Counties Survey winners have demonstrated true leadership when it was needed the most. We applaud their innovation and expertise in leveraging technology to achieve county goals.”

The Digital Counties Survey 2021 – 500,000 – 999,999 population category - Winners list:

500,000-999,999 Population Category
1st Prince George's County, MD
2nd DeKalb County, GA
3rd Snohomish County, WA
4th San Joaquin County, CA
5th County of San Mateo, CA
6th County of Sonoma, CA
7th New Castle County, DE
8th Gwinnett County, GA
9th Polk County, FL
10th Cobb County, GA

Full list of winners

Digital Counties summary of Sonoma County 6th place win

Throughout the last year, Sonoma County found itself having to redirect about 20 percent of its IT staff to emergency response due to the prevalence of wildfires and other emergencies, requiring some reshuffling on the IT side to ensure critical needs were met and focus areas were well defined. For the Information Systems Department, keeping pace with rapidly changing emergency response and workplace needs during wildfires, power disruptions and the pandemic has been and will remain the biggest challenge during the next 12 to 18 months.

As a result, a key priority is to develop infrastructure that enhances community resilience by investing in roads, buildings and property, as well as communications, technology and flood protection. On the emerging tech front, Sonoma County is leveraging federal grants to augment its early fire detection capabilities using artificial intelligence. By adding cameras to existing towers used for radio communication, responders added surveillance and early alerting capacity that uses optical detection, real-time data streams as well as automated alerts to speed response to critical incidents.

One example of the county’s efforts to better serve vulnerable residents is its ACCESS Sonoma initiative, launched in 2020. The multi-agency effort aims to better connect people to available services, and a key back-end component of the work is clear data governance and data sharing policies between the departments that are involved. This wraparound approach is yielding benefits in connecting those in need with temporary and permanent housing as well as meeting other social needs like ensuring equitable COVID-19 vaccine access.

Summary statements of all 500,000 to 999,999 winners