SLCPD: Priority 1 call response times drop 3 minutes from Aug. to Sept.
SALT LAKE CITY — New developments in the ongoing issue of police response times in Salt Lake City — Chief Mike Brown said things improved slightly in the month of September.
Last month, priority one calls — incidents like a shooting, an assault or a fight in progress — took an officer 17 minutes and 34 seconds to respond.
The national average is 10 minutes.
Brown said the numbers are back down to 14 minutes, but that’s still a number no one thinks is acceptable, including him.
“This is going to get way worse,” said Ryan Carver.
As the spokesperson for the Fraternal Order of Police, Carver is keenly aware of the issues facing law enforcement.
He said the country is seeing a shift in attitude toward police officers.
Now, the department is facing huge staffing shortages, and he believes the gap will continue to widen.
“Today, I wouldn’t advise anybody to be a cop,” said Carver.
The SLCPD is authorized to have 571 officers on staff. Sixty-six of those work at the Salt Lake City International Airport. So, that means, at full staff, there are 516 officers on Salt Lake City streets. Right now, they have 55 vacancies.
Brown said they have started hiring and 17-trained officers will hit the streets in November, another two in December. But that’s only part of the problem.
“Over the course of the last few years, we have seen the calls for service on a daily basis increase,” he said.
Up nearly 25% over the last four years, response times for September dropped from the high of over 17 minutes.
“We’re down to where we were, but I’m telling you, that’s not where we want to be,” said Brown.
He said he’s looking at many different options to get the response times down.
“We’re working with our dispatch to look at other agencies and nonprofits that can help us out so that it can be diverted to another organization that can help lift the burden of these calls for service,” said Brown.
Carver said getting times down will require help from all sides.
“The simple reality is, everyone has a stake in this, not just the chief of police, or the mayor or the city council, or even the officers, but the citizens as well,” he said.
Back in 2008 in Salt Lake City, the average was five minutes.
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