While local police got to emergency calls faster last year, their
overall response times were slower than the year before.
In 2002, it took an average of 14 minutes and 27 seconds for
officers to respond to calls within the department’s nine levels of
priority and non-urgent categories. In 2001, the average was 14
minutes and 15 seconds.
Burbank Police records show officers responded to 50,972 calls
The department divides responses into three kinds of high-priority
calls, and into six others that are less urgent. The top three types
of calls include life-threatening ones, violent felonies in progress
and those that just occurred.
Police responded to high-priority calls in an average of 3 minutes
and 20 seconds in 2002, Deputy Chief Larry Koch said. In 2001, police
responded in 3 minutes and 23 seconds. The previous year, emergency
response took 3 minutes and 19 seconds.
“We’re generally around or just under 3 minutes and 20 sec- onds,”
Koch said. “We feel it’s very good.”
Response times are measured from the moment a call is received by
the department’s communications center to the time officers arrive at
the scene. Koch, who was captain of the patrol division before
becoming deputy chief , said response times are a key measurement of
the department’s health.
“It’s one of the report cards of police work,” he said. “They are
barometers on how we’re doing our jobs because we have more control
over that than we do over the crime rate.”
Earlier this year, the department was struggling with reduced
staffing levels and had to pull officers from the mall detail to
maintain minimum levels in patrol. But that had a minor effect, if
any at all, on response times, Koch said.
In contrast, Los Angeles Police Department response times are
considerably higher, albeit in a larger and more populous city with
stretched patrol squads.
Police response times in the city of Los Angeles hover around 10
minutes. Glendale Police were still working earlier this week to
compile their 2002 data on response times.