POLICE

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

Oct 21, 2020, 6:04 PM
salt lake city police south temple gas scare...
SLCPD has activated and OICI following the death of a suspect while in police custody. 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.

Today’s Top Stories

Police

false lockdown...
Devin Oldroyd

Lehi building placed on false lockdown after report of unconcealed gun

A Lehi building was placed on a false lockdown following a report of a man with an unconcealed firearm. There was determined to be no threat at the scene.
20 hours ago
Holiday Police Pay-it-Forward event....
Waverly Golden

Salt Lake City Police Department hosts holiday Pay-it-Forward event

Salt Lake City Police Department along with SLC School District paired 50 children with a police officer for a holiday shopping experience.
20 hours ago
Four Dead University of Idaho...
Aya Elamroussi, CNN

Authorities swat down rumors surrounding unsolved killings of 4 University of Idaho students

Authorities in a small Idaho city that had not recorded a murder in years are urging the public to be vigilant against rumors and conjectures surrounding the unsolved killings of four college students last month.
20 hours ago
A west valley police car is pictured. Police are investigating a hit and run...
Mark Jones

Fire in West Valley City home contained to one room in basement

A fire inside a West Valley City home Friday was contained to one room in the basement, according to fire officials on scene.
2 days ago
Authorities in Washington County are investigating the discovery of the body of a 36-year-old man e...
Mark Jones

Staff member at school in southern Utah arrested for alleged sexual abuse

A 22-year-old staff member of a school in southern Utah was arrested Thursday by the Washington County Sheriff's Office for alleged sexual abuse.
2 days ago
provo police car is pictured, the department is investigation a hit-and-run...
Samantha Herrera

21-year-old woman killed in Provo hit-and-run

21-year-old Isabelle Parr was identified as the victim of a hit-and-run in Provo on Thursday. Police believe she was hit while jogging.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
SLCPD take twice as long to respond to most police calls, records show