Updated: October 11, 2021 10:26 PM
Created: October 11, 2021 09:17 PM
During the first six months of 2020, priority one emergency calls to the Minneapolis dispatch center took an average of 11 minutes from the time the call came in until an officer arrived on the scene. That number jumped to an average of 15 minutes, an increase of 36%, during the first six months of 2021, according to Minneapolis Police Department records.
Priority one calls are considered the most serious calls and generally involve crimes of violence.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the 15-minute average isn't acceptable.
"It is not acceptable at all because when people are in a crisis, whether that's a shooting, domestic violence or whatever it is, they need to be able to dial 911 and have an officer arrive quickly," Frey said. "We need violence prevention to do the upstream work and we need to make sure we have a comprehensive approach to public safety and we need deep reform. But we also need an adequately staffed police department."
MPD is budgeted to have 770 officers in 2021, but right now, there are only 578 officers on the job. First Precinct Inspector Bill Peterson told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS there is a correlation between fewer officers on patrol and the increase in the response to priority one 911 emergency calls.
"It is that simple because it is a simple mathematic equation for what's happening," Peterson said. "If you have more personnel available to respond to, not only priority one calls but all calls, those response times will definitely start to go down."
Retired University of Minnesota Police Chief Greg Hestness told KSTP that just five years ago when he left law enforcement, the target was to respond to priority one calls in five minutes or less. He said he believes the increase in the response times is directly connected to having fewer officers on the streets.
"I mean it all comes back to staffing. It absolutely goes to staffing," Hestness said. "I would say that the city's most important function is providing safety and they are failing and the bad guys feel emboldened because of the decline in the police department numbers."
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