Utah’s SALT LAKE CITY — Although they have improved, response times at the Salt Lake City Police Department are still among the worst in Utah. Despite recruiting more police, the department has also covertly decreased its requirements for Priority 1 response times.
SLCPD data shows that from September 2021 to September 2022, the agency’s average response time for a Priority 1 call was 11 minutes, 58 seconds.
The department handles the most urgent cases on priority 1 calls. Both Priority 1 and Priority 2 calls, in accordance with SLCPD regulation, need “rapid attention.” The agency frequently responded too slowly to the most important 911 calls, according to an investigation report first reported by FOX 13 News in the spring of 2021, as SLCPD struggled with a staffing shortage.
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The department’s average Priority 1 response time in August 2020 was 18 minutes and 36 seconds. According to SLCPD Chief Mike Brown, “it’s a clear tie to our staffing.” “I believe that 92 officers left the department at its peak.” Some of the policemen attributed their departure to Brown. The SLCPD officers’ union cast a “vote of no confidence” on the chief in 2020.
Since then, the SLCPD has hired more officers, and more are now through training. On May 15, 2021, Sgt. Keith Horrocks, the department’s highest-ranking official in charge of public communications, indicated that the SLCPD’s target response time for a Priority 1 call was 4-5 minutes.
The chief’s new spokesperson, Brent Weisberg, sent FOX 13 News a slew of emails more than a year after our investigation accusing us of making up that number. Weisberg penned, “We do not feel your information on this topic is accurate. Our officers, who labor every day to respond to service requests as promptly and safely as they can, find this disrespectful.
The mayor’s spokesman, Andrew Wittenberg, was likewise perplexed. He inquired, “Where do you obtain the 4-5 minutes?” “Could you explain where you kept this? on video?” Brown was met by FOX 13 News to view an unedited version of the Horrocks interview from May 15, 2021.
We expect Priority 1s to be under eight minutes in March 2021, but I believe we’d prefer to see them closer to five or even four minutes. That’s a decent response time, said Horrocks. Chief Ewell, who is wiser than I am, said, “I know that he quoted, but he quoted the national average response time, and I think that’s fine. He said it was somewhere in the vicinity of five minutes for a Priority 1 call.
Five minutes is a long time even when you call about something and are in the worst circumstances you have ever experienced in your life. Although each second that the clock ticks feels like an eternity, it’s still preferable to looking at eight or even 10 minutes.
Because a Priority 1 can mean the difference between life and death, correct?” questioned Adam Herbets of FOX 13 News. “All right,” Horrocks said. “Yes, yes,”
Brown remarked that he was unable to reconcile the contradiction between Horrocks’ remarks and his current objective. “I’m not sure. I’m not sure if he did, Brown remarked. I had never heard that phrase in its full before. Brown asserted that the SLCPD has “always” set a 10-minute target for a Priority 1 response.
Brown stated, “That’s just something we’ve always looked at. It’s an excellent average.
Mayor Erin Mendenhall responded that the “reality that we’re dealing with” was the reason why the objective had been altered. The chief came to that conclusion, therefore it is not a politically motivated (objective), Mendenhall said. Although the tide has turned in Salt Lake City, work still has to be done.
The reality is that Salt Lake City has remained unchanged, Bertram stated. In 1990, it was distinctive. Today, it is distinctive. Former SLCPD sergeant Matt Evans claimed that he left the city because of the high crime rate and slow law enforcement response times.
Evans remarked, “I lived in Salt Lake, but I moved away as soon as I was planning to have a family and kids.” Crime exists as it does. Even though most of the time it comes from sources outside of your control, trying to brush it over won’t help anyone.
Brown said that he was sorry to find that some of the cops do not want to reside in the city they are supposed to be representing. Brown stated, “At first glance, that worries me because I want people to work here, live here, play here, and feel comfortable.”
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