Fort Worth, Texas – Fort Worth Police Department didn’t manage to meet its own set response time goals in half of the high-priority emergency calls in the period of October 2019 to December 2020, the department confirmed.
According to the FWPD, in nearly one of four calls those who called the dispatcher hung up before an operator picked up.
The department set its own response time goal to eight minutes and 54 seconds for Priority 1 calls. However, the department managed to respond and meet their own goal in only 54% of the calls.
Priority 1 calls are type of calls that include life-and-death emergencies. This includes, but it’s not limited to robberies, shootings and sexual assaults.
Priority 2 calls are type of calls that don’t pose an immediate threat, but still require rapid response at the scene. The department’s goal for these calls was set to 17 minutes and 18 seconds.
Priority 3 calls goal was set to 52 minutes.
According to the results showed in the audit, the department managed to meet their own goals for Priority 2 and 3 calls in only 63% of the time.
Auditors reviewed call data from Oct. 1, 2019, through Dec. 31, 2020.
Fort Worth police chief said in a statement that they have been improving ever since, especially in the last couple of months.
“We have since increased our efforts and pay to retain employees and hire new staff to fill our vacant positions,” the statement said. “We are starting to see positive changes as a result of these efforts.”
The major issue for slower response time is the staffing shortages. According to Officer Jimmy Pollozani, a police spokesman, the department currently has 21 vacancies in the communications division and the department is actively working to fill in these positions and improve the response times.
He also added that the department’s responding time goal for Priority 1 calls is flat eight minutes, not the 8:54 reported in the audit.
The review was ordered last summer after north Fort Worth mother Jamie Haswell complained nobody answered her desperate 911 calls when her 2-year-old daughter Mila stopped breathing.
“It just went to a recording,” Haswell said at the time. “Honestly, I thought my baby was dying in my arms.”
Her daughter ended up being fine after Haswell took her to hospital with her neighbor’s car.
The police department is looking forward to firstly overcome the staffing shortages problem and later improve their response times in the upcoming months.