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Salt Lake City police response times getting longer

A Salt Lake City Police car parked in front of the Skyhouse Apartments in Salt Lake City after two individuals were shot. (Colby Walker | KSLNewsRadio)

SALT LAKE CITY — Officer response times in Salt Lake City are getting worse, according to new data from the Salt Lake City Police Department

Officer response times increasing in Salt Lake City

According to data compiled between January and August 2021, officer response times are up across three of the highest priority levels. 

Officer response times through 2021, courtesy of Salt Lake City Police Department

SLCPD classifies the priority of calls as follows: 

PRIORITY 1: Requires immediate attention. All in-progress crimes, major crimes just occurred with a timelapse of five minutes or less for property crimes and 15 minutes or less for crimes against a person.

PRIORITY 2: Minor crimes just occurred and calls requiring immediate attention.

PRIORITY 3: Non-emergency calls requiring prompt attention.

The department says it adjusts priorities based on the circumstances of a given call. 

One resident says his neighborhood is no longer safe

Jake Cornia lives in Liberty Wells, near the soon-to-be-demolished Coachman’s restaurant. He says his neighborhood has changed dramatically in the two decades he has been there. 

“Honestly, it’s just not a safe neighborhood anymore,” he said. 

Cornia says he considered the area around his home very safe as of a few years ago. He describes quick response times from police officers and friendly detectives. 

That’s not the case anymore, according to Cornia. 

“When I call about an incident, they just don’t show up and it seems like dispatch just doesn’t care,” he said. 

He says there have been shootings, drug deals, fights in the street, possible domestic violence, and potential prostitution. Cornia says he feels uncomfortable walking his dog at night. 

“If you’re inside your home, you’re probably good; but if you’re walking outside, I don’t feel safe whatsoever,” he said. 

He hopes SLCPD is able to hire the officers it needs so they can again provide the service his neighborhood needs. 

Response time is not all bad

Meanwhile, one business on the westside of Salt Lake City is perfectly content with the response time. 

A supervisor with the Utah Pet Grooming School, at 973 W North Temple, says the city’s police officers have shown up in reasonable amounts of time whenever they have called. 

The woman explains a time where someone she believed to be high on drugs caused an unsafe situation. She says the person started acting erratically and began hitting an exterior window with a piece of metal after being asked to leave. 

However, the supervisor says officers were there in a flash to deescalate the situation and detain the person causing the problem. 

She says police have also been quick to handle people she believes to be sex workers standing on a nearby corner. 

To her, an increased response time has not been readily apparent. 

“They’ve always done right by me,” she said. 

The mayor’s office chimes in

The office of Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall released the following statement Thursday afternoon: 

While we know that not all calls for service are crime-related, giving the Salt Lake City Police Department the resources they need to help our residents is a priority for the Mayor. One important component of call response time is the department’s staffing levels and on June 25 the Mayor increased officer pay to top-of-market so that our City is better equipped to attract and retain great officers for our community. The Mayor is a leader who is committed to consistently prioritizing the safety of our City’s residents, visitors and business owners.

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