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  1. #1
    A-C
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    Average Response Times

    I read an interesting criticism of the police department. It claimed, "Pizza arrives faster than the police."

    I'd like to know how the police would respond to this critique.

    I'm also interested in how long it usually takes the police to arrive on scene after receiving a phone call. I imagine it varies depending on the priority level of the call, but I'm most interested in the instances involving violence.

    In non-domestic cases, ones where the perpetrator isn't tied down to the geography, is it more common for the police to arrive while the altercation is occurring or after?

    This topic is significant to me because I've called the police twice regarding battery cases. On both occasions it took 30 minutes for the police to arrive despite the fact that the incident was in the centrally located and heavily patrolled downtown area of my city. Fortunately, I wasn't the victim, but I found the experience to be eye-opening and made me interested in this information.

  2. #2
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    Depends on the time, nature and location of the call. Also of concern are manpower (shift timing) and how the call comes in to dispatch. Where I work a call to 911 takes some time because it gets routed through two call centers, while a direct call to the police communications line will be faster. It's a medium size city with a lot of police patrolling and non-emergency calls would usually be addressed within ten-fifteen minutes of it coming out, or better.

    Obviously if it's something like an assault in progress response time is quicker. The problem is that assaults often take very little time, and that time is subjective. In a normal scenario someone sees a fight, calls 911. The county 911 call-taker takes the call and passes it on to our dispatch. Okay, that can take anywhere from thirty seconds to a few minutes, depending on the complexity and call volume. Often during busy times I rolled up (on bike especially) on stuff going down, and would call it in to dispatch... only to be told that, "yes, we're just getting a call in about that now... you'll be primary."

    Then our dispatch sends out the call and people start rolling. So maybe 2-6 minutes if there's officers near the area, or more if they're not close. It gets worse when they have to find the incident and there's no exact location, or if there's any ambiguous info.

    I haven't seen 30 minute response times for an assault in progress where I work, but I am just trying to give you an idea of some of the stuff that happens before an officer even gets the call.

  3. #3
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    It also depends on where you are. In some rural counties here, they have just a few deputies covering hundreds of square miles. In some cities, there are lots of police, but they also have more calls and like was just said, they have to triage them. The town doesn't have a lot of police on duty at any given time, but it's also a quiet town. I called them a couple of times in the middle of the night over a neighbor's loud party and the arrival time was less than 5 minutes. However, because there are few, if they had something else going on, it would take a lot longer than that.

    In the city I worked in, it was pretty much what ET109 described. If you were up to your butt in alligators, we would be there within minutes. If someone stole a lawn decoration, it might take an hour or two.
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  4. #4
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    Triage.

    I may be enroute to your loud music complaint when I get a burglar alarm or domestic call. Even though you called first , the highest priority call gets handled first.
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  5. #5
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    Simple equation. Response time usually depends on call volume (x) and manpower (y). During those times when X is greater than Y, response time is down for all but the most serious calls.

    Slower times when Y is greater or equal to X, response time goes down since calls don't hold for an officer to clear from a previous call.
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  6. #6
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    All really great answers here, so I don't think I can better any of them, just enhance maybe. In my county, we have two precincts that are heavily staffed, while the other parts of the county are pretty well understaffed (for instance, my precinct usually has two of us in service and is bigger than both of the other - well staffed - precincts. But, with that size there is also a much lower population density, so we get much fewer calls. The other night, the precinct south of me was short handed, had a couple calls with deputies dispatched, when a friend of mine comes up on a wreck on the interstate. Multiple vehicles, at least one fatality, and multiple entrapments. Everyone broke from the calls they were on to head out and get traffic flowing again so fire, EMS, and Life Flight could get on scene. I moved south a bit (as we were NOT busy) and started picking up their calls, some of which had been holding some time.

    So, I guess the saying could be true sometimes, pizza might very well arrive before the police. But I don't think you're in danger of starving to death while waiting for pizza, so I would say you're comparing apples and oranges.
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  7. #7
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    Think of it like going to the emergency room. If you go in with a cold, you could be seen in 5 minutes, or 5 hours.... If you go in having a heart attack, hopefully you'll be seen within a couple of minutes- however if you are in a small hospital, and 5 other people are having a heart attack at the same time, it may be a while.
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    Your selective outrage is hypocritical. Don't you have an anti-war rally to attend where you can go burn some American flags with your hippie buddies?

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