CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

SLCPD take twice as long to respond to most police calls, records show

Oct 21, 2020, 6:04 PM | Updated: Dec 30, 2022, 11:22 am

salt lake city police south temple gas scare...

Salt Lake City Police Department arrested 44-year-old Anthony Jack for his alleged involvement in several crimes, including multiple burglaries. FILE: KSL TV

SALT LAKE CITY — What is taking so long for police to arrive?  Recently released records show it takes roughly twice as long for Salt Lake City Police officers to arrive to certain calls compared to last year.

The data comes from documents given to KSL Newsradio after an open records request.  Debbie Dujanovic, co-host of KSL Newsradio’s Dave and Dujanovic, says listeners asked her to investigate whether or not it took longer for police to respond to emergency and low-priority calls.  She says many listeners claimed they had to wait a very long time after calling the Salt Lake City Police Department (SLCPD), and, the data shows the listeners were right.

The records reveal that response times to high-level “priority one” calls were similar to numbers reported in 2019.  However, in 2019, officers took an average of 14 minutes to respond to “priority two” calls, and this year, it took them an average of 21 minutes.

For “priority three” calls, records show that it took officers over an hour to respond in 2020, which is well more than double what it was last year.

Overall, the average wait time for a police response was just shy of 50 minutes in 2020, compared to 24 in 2019.

“It’s not acceptable”

When asked directly, Salt Lake Police Deputy Chief Lamar Ewell didn’t mince words. “Yes, I agree that 50 minutes is not acceptable,” he said.

Ewell says the problem boils down to staffing.  On paper, he said, it may appear that there are more patrol officers on the payroll than last year.  But that doesn’t paint a complete picture.  He said COVID-19 has had a huge impact on their staff, and that officers have other commitments they have to take care of.

“That may not necessarily take into account the half-dozen or a dozen [officers] quarantined because of the virus, or on military leave or on maternity leave,” he said. 

We’ve had approximately, and I’m going to throw out some approximations, here… 80 officers on one type of leave or another.”

Also, there have been roughly 50 officers who have either resigned, retired, or left the department since the end of April.

“When you look at those numbers, that’s around 130 officers.  That has an impact on us patrolling.”

Ewell says outside analysts say the department would need around 300 patrol officers to operate at full efficiency.  For now, they only have 179, nowhere near what they would like to have.

The data was collected between June 1 and August 31 of 2019 and 2020.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Crime, Police + Courts

An SLCPD car with its lights on. (Salt Lake City Police Department)...

Emma Keddington

Man arrested at the airport in connection to Salt Lake City homicide

This is the second arrest in connection to the killing of 30-year-old Nico Christopher Patino. 

22 hours ago

An SLCPD car with its lights on. (Salt Lake City Police Department)...

Carlysle Price, KSL TV

SLCPD arrest fugitive shooting suspect

On Friday, the Salt Lake City Police Department has arrested the suspect of a shooting that occurred in February.

1 day ago

A Clearfield shooting has left one 18-year-old injured and in the hospital....

Kennedy Camarena

Clearfield shooting leaves 18-year-old hospitalized

An 18-year-old male was injured and hospitalized after being shot twice in Clearfield, Utah on Saturday night.

2 days ago

Officials urge parents to follow Utah's regulations on the use of e-bikes, scooters and ATVs....

Carlysle Price, KSL TV

Officials urge parents to follow e-bike regulations

Police are reminding the public on regulations issued around e-bikes due to concerns surrounding kids with e-bikes, ATV's and golf carts.

2 days ago

Jorge Rafael Medina-Reyes pleaded guilty on Thursday to the kidnapping and murder of Nicole Solorio...

Emily Ashcraft, KSL.com

Second man pleads guilty to kidnapping, murder of Kearns woman in 2021

Jorge Rafael Medina-Reyes, 25, pleaded guilty Thursday to murder, a first-degree felony, and aggravated kidnapping, a first-degree felony.

3 days ago

american fork police in front of home where couple was found dead...

Sam Herrera

Couple found dead in American Fork home identified

American Fork Police identified 57-year-old Olin Johnson and his wife, 52-year-old Kerilyn Johnson, as the couple found dead in their home on Thursday.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...

Comcast

Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

SLCPD take twice as long to respond to most police calls, records show