SLC Police See Increase In Response Times, Call Volume

Oct 21, 2020, 7:39 PM

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – It only takes a few seconds to call 911 and reach police, but the time it takes for officers with the Salt Lake City Police Department to respond is taking longer this year.

KSL NewsRadio requested response time data from the SLCPD and found the average response times for all priority calls have increased by almost 30 minutes from last year’s average.

KSL spoke with SLCPD Deputy Chief LaMar Ewell, who said there are several factors leading to the increased wait times. Most notable was an increase in calls.

Last summer there were 9,774 calls. That jumped to 11,326 calls in 2020.

The largest increase in response time comes from priority three calls, which typically involve investigative work. Response times in 2019 were around 33 minutes and this year it skyrocketed by more than 43 minutes.

The response to priority one calls — situations that are active and most serious — increased from 10 minutes to 11:30.

“That 1:30, I realize that can seem like an eternity to someone having a crisis and needing us to be there quickly,” Ewell said.

He called this “unacceptable” and said the department is focused on improving response times, specifically at the patrolling division and the investigative division.

Ewell said 50 officers either retired or resigned since April, and that is contributing to the increase in response times.

He said the department is shifting more officers toward patrolling, even if it means pulling officers from special projects.

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SLC Police See Increase In Response Times, Call Volume