SLC Police response times are better, but top brass says not good enough

Oct 12, 2021, 7:13 PM | Updated: Dec 29, 2022, 12:06 pm
Salt Lake City Police investigating, drive by shooting...
Salt Lake City Police announced Thursday its response time for May 2022. (Salt Lake City Police. File Photo)
(Salt Lake City Police. File Photo)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Salt Lake City Police Department has received harsh criticism over how slow their response times have been for top priority calls.  Officials say they saw big improvements over the last four weeks.  However, their response times still aren’t as quick as the top brass wants them to be.

Response times are better

Chief Mike Brown hopes their terrible response times in August were just an anomaly.  In August, it took Salt Lake City Police an average of 17:34 to respond to a priority one call, and Brown said that was unacceptable.  In September, that average response time dropped to 14:14.

 “That’s a 3:20 drop from August of 2021,” Brown said.

This puts their average time essentially to what it was in 2020, but Brown said even that is still unacceptable.  The department’s goal is to have an officer at the scene of a priority one call within 10 minutes of being dispatched. So they’re trying to find new methods to speed up their responses.

Longer police response times, fewer officers

Analysts say violent crime has been on the rise in Salt Lake City. Department data shows violent crime increased more than nine percent from 2020, putting it more than 16 percent higher than the past five-year average.  Brown said they would receive 254 “calls for service” every day in 2018, but that number rose to 266 in 2019, then 300 in 2020.  Currently, Brown says they’re getting 310 calls every single day.

They’ve had to deal with this increase in violent crime with fewer officers patrolling the streets.  For now, officials say they have 55 vacant sworn positions. There are five officers on military duty and one officer who announced their retirement.  The department hired 19 new officers in January. Brown said it takes quite a while to make those officers street-ready.

“It’s a 22-week academy, and then it’s another 16 weeks in an FTO (field training officer) program.  So, it’s about 10 months,” Brown said.

Different ways to respond to calls

Apart from hiring more officers, what else can SLCPD do to shrink their response times?

Brown said there are many times when police are called to a scene when they really shouldn’t be. So they’re looking at a “call diversion” program that could route the calls to other agencies that are better equipped to handle certain situations.

“A lot of times, people will call and, maybe, it’s a mental health issue or a juvenile issue that really shouldn’t be a police response.  We’re working with our dispatch to look at other agencies and non-profits that can help us out,” he said.

The department is also considering a new response system. It could automate lower-priority calls where a police officer isn’t necessarily required.  Brown said one example would be if you woke up to find your car was stolen, and the suspect is long gone.

Brown said, “There are, now, online processes where you can actually just call in, go online, receive that case number, complete your own report. And we’ll have the information.”

Read more:

We want to hear from you.

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

Today’s Top Stories

Crime, Police + Courts

Authorities in Grants Pass, Oregon are advising women to be on the lookout for a fugitive accused o...
Andy Rose and Nouran Salahieh, CNN

Man suspected of kidnapping and beating a woman in Oregon may be using dating apps to evade police

Originally Published: 29 JAN 23 12:31 ET Updated: 29 JAN 23 21:20 ET     (CNN) — Authorities in southwestern Oregon are warning that a man suspected of kidnapping a woman and beating her unconscious may now be using dating apps to evade capture or find potential new victims, according to police. The suspect, 36-year-old Benjamin Obadiah […]
5 hours ago
Suspected arsonist appears on surveillance footage lighting Molotov cocktail in front of Temple Ner...
Celina Tebor, Isa Kaufman-Geballe and Zoe Sottile, CNN

Man throws Molotov cocktail at New Jersey synagogue in arson attempt, police say

A man threw a Molotov cocktail at a New Jersey synagogue in an arson attempt on Sunday morning, police and the synagogue said.
1 day ago
Atlanta Police Officers watch as protesters march during a rally against the fatal police assault o...
Nouran Salahieh, CNN

Protesters across the US decry police brutality after Tyre Nichols’ death

Protesters took to the streets to decry police brutality after the release of video depicting the violent beating that led to the death of Tyre Nichols.
1 day ago
Sanpete Co Fatal...
Waverly Golden

Three vehicle crash in Sanpete County leaves one dead

One person is dead following a three vehicle crash in Sanpete County around 7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 28.
2 days ago
Tyre Nichols Protests...
Nouran Salahieh, Jamiel Lynch, Chuck Johnston, Shawn Nottingham, Andy Rose and Phil Gast, CNN

More protests today after release of video depicting the deadly police beating of Tyre Nichols

Protesters across the US heldmarches & rallies on Saturday, one day after the release of video showing the police beating of Tyre Nichols in Memphis.
2 days ago
A traffic stop in Salt Lake City led to the arrest of a 21-year-old man who was in possession of il...
Mark Jones

Salt Lake City traffic stop leads to drug bust, illegal gun recovered

Salt Lake City police say a traffic stop Thursday resulted in a 21-year-old man being arrested for being in possession of illegal drugs and a firearm.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

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...

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...

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
SLC Police response times are better, but top brass says not good enough