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  1. #1
    Pedro56's Avatar
    Pedro56 is offline Englewood Ranger/Infidel Extraordinaire
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    We got Nailed Again

    Does Address Affect Police Response Time?
    911 Dispatcher Says Some Neighborhoods Prone To Delays


    POSTED: 4:49 pm CST November 28, 2006
    UPDATED: 7:16 am CST November 29, 2006

    http://www.nbc5.com/news/10417034/detail.html

    CHICAGO --

    .
    It starts with a call for help, with the hope that 911 operators will dispatch police to a potentially dangerous situation.

    But a Unit 5 investigation found that, according to a 911 operator, those who live in some predominantly black and Hispanic neighborhoods "can count on a delay in dispatch."

    The operator, who did not wish to be named, provided NBC5's Phil Rogers with 21 days worth of call logs detailing times when police were unavailable for dispatch, creating periods of long delays in police service.


    "People call up (and ask), "Where are the police?' And you try and make excuses to pacify them as to why police aren't there," the operator said.

    The city calls the situation a Radio Assignments Pending, or RAP.

    The call logs Rogers examined showed RAPs occurring in some districts more than others.

    "There is not enough police cars available for assignments in the black police districts or the black and Hispanic police districts on the South Side," the 911 operator said.

    In the eighth district on the Southwest Side, call logs showed 39 total RAPs. On those RAPs, the average response time for police was just over four hours.

    In the sixth district on the South Side, there were 28 total RAPs that lasted an average of over five hours, 16 minutes.

    That contrasts sharply with the 20th district on the North Side, where logs showed there was only one RAP during the 21-day time period, and it lasted just over an hour.

    "This situation is not accidental," the operator said. "Someone who does the planning knows that in white areas there is better police service and more car coverage."

    During the period Unit 5 examined, an attempted suicide was not dispatched for 19 minutes in the 15th police district; an assault in progress was not dispatched for over 35 minutes in the third police district; and despite several calls in the 11th police district, a robbery in progress was not dispatched for an hour.

    Gussie Townsend, a 75-year-old schoolteacher who lives in the 22nd district, said she arrived home during a burglary in progress. Townsend said she did not see a police car for two hours, six minutes.

    The teacher said a neighbor warned her of an intruder in her house.

    "He said, 'Don't go in there. Be careful, somebody might be in there,'" she recalled. "He said, 'They're getting out the back. Call the police again."

    Police were called again, but Townsend said the lengthy delay in their response allowed the intruder to get away.

    "If the police are going to take two hours to come, they have plenty of time to go in the houses and come out," she said. "People have a chance of getting hurt."

    Police Deputy Superintendent Charles Williams said that ideally, RAPs should only be delaying the investigation of non-violent, lower-priority crimes.

    Williams said that dispatchers and their supervisors at the 911 center should immediately draw on other resources for priority one cases, whether a RAP is in effect or not.

    "If it's a priority one call, that should be dispatched -- whether it be to a supervisor, to a TAC car, to a gang car -- it should be dispatched," he said.

    Williams would not confirm why so many RAPs seem to occur in minority neighborhoods.

    "I'm not going to say (they could use more) resources. I will say that these are areas where, perhaps, you have a lot of gang activity that may be taking place," he said.

    Townsend said she had a priority one case, and two hours was too long.

    "Suppose someone had gotten hurt," she said. "I also feel that if (police) had gotten here, they might have caught them."

    Williams agreed that Townsend's case should have been acted on more promptly. He insisted that lengthy delays are not acceptable to Chicago police.

    "The more serious a priority, the faster we want it dispatched and the faster we want it responded to," he said.


    Copyright 2006 by NBC5.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed
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  2. #2
    BigDawg's Avatar
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    Damn man
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  3. #3
    Willowdared's Avatar
    Willowdared is offline Bendy not Breaky
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    So, my question is this - is this due to several other priority calls tying up officers? Staffing shortages? Are dispatchers holding calls if the specific beat units are busy?

    If we have a high priority call pending, we have to broadcast and get a 10-4 from a field unit. We can break units from lower priority calls, and units from other beat areas can respond.

    But, a murder can tie up everyone for hours. As can a fatal accident. And the rule of thumb seems to be that you get one big call, then suddenly the shit hits the fan. I've worked nights where 20 calls - all priority calls - are pending, and units are waiving cover to try to take care of them all.

    That dispatcher was out of line.
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  4. #4
    TheOldRhino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PDawg View Post
    That dispatcher was out of line.
    What?!?!? The logs were showing an average of 4 to 5 hours delay.
    That means if I got shot or stabbed, I could pop in one of the Lord of the Rings special edition DVDs and have time to eat something before the police arrive. AVERAGE! When the AVERAGE call on the north end was less than one hour!

    And the dispatcher is out of line?

    I don't agree with the media giving the racial slant. But clearly there are some mismangement of resources going on...
    Last edited by TheOldRhino; 11-29-06 at 02:59 PM.
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  5. #5
    BigDawg's Avatar
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    I agree Rhino. A Dept. needs to staff the most people where the majority of calls/crimes happen. Its about as easy as that, doesnt matter about money or demographics, its a matter of need.


    I dont think the dispatcher was out of line either.
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  6. #6
    Willowdared's Avatar
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    Sorry, but how do you know that dispatcher printed out a complete log that showed the actual situation on any given night? How many units were already on high priority calls when those other calls were pending? Did the dispatcher screw up and not dispatch a call? Who exactly are they blaming here?

    I can define different nodes that limit what is on my display, and I have a separate display for what's been dispatched vs what is pending.

    I can also select specific criteria to determine what is displayed.

    And when I say out of line, I mean that she may have violated policy on printing/removing log information from the Comm Center. If this is a legit "whistle-blower" situation, then maybe, but most of our log information has to be subpoenaed.

    **edit**

    As I re-read the article, I saw that they only addressed how many calls were pending in each area. There was no mention of how that averaged into how many calls were received. They also did not break down report calls pending and "priority" calls pending.

    The specific "priority" calls mention:
    During the period Unit 5 examined, an attempted suicide was not dispatched for 19 minutes in the 15th police district; an assault in progress was not dispatched for over 35 minutes in the third police district; and despite several calls in the 11th police district, a robbery in progress was not dispatched for an hour.
    We have 9 contract cities. Some of them can get very busy, and every single call coming in is a "priority" call that requires at least two units. Then you have to decide which calls can hold. Is the bad guy gone? Is anyone in physical danger? Is this a property crime? There is a long list of factors that are not addressed at all.

    Do you want someone to start timing you on your calls? Asking you why you spent 30 minutes on a Fraud call, but only 15 on a residential burlgary?
    Last edited by Willowdared; 11-29-06 at 06:42 PM.
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  7. #7
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    PDawg, I Chicago is the most technologically advanced department in the country, if not the world.

    My small 50 man sized department can pull up these kinds of stats easily on our CAD system and print them out. It all a matter of public record.
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  8. #8
    Willowdared's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhino View Post
    PDawg, I Chicago is the most technologically advanced department in the country, if not the world.

    My small 50 man sized department can pull up these kinds of stats easily on our CAD system and print them out. It all a matter of public record.
    Rhino, I think you missed the point.

    I work with CAD, and know what it can do, but I also know that I am not authorized to give someone information just because they ask.

    Did that print out included the names/addresses/phone numbers of the RP's? If so, the agency (because it was a dispatcher) may be liable for violating their privacy.

    Did it include a break down by priority level, and show documentation as to why they were held? Did it also show what other calls came in at the same time, and how they were handled?

    I just feel there is more to the story, but we won't find out because everyone is going to assume that every high priority call has extended delays in certain areas, when it may have been a case of some very busy nights, or some major events.
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