Chicago police chief: Our 911 response is 'kind of broken'

August 30, 2011

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(AP File/Paul Beaty)

The head of Chicago's police department acknowledged that sometimes police are too busy to respond to shootings. Garry McCarthy appeared at a public hearing on the city's budget Monday night.

A resident of Chicago's Woodlawn neighborhood said sometimes when she calls 911 to report shootings, she is told no officers are available. McCarthy agreed that's a problem.

"There are too many 911 calls in the system for us to respond to every one," he told the crowd at Kennedy-King College in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood. "And if our officers are tied up on a lower-level priority, then they're not available to reply to your shots-fired call. So the system is kind of broken."

McCarthy insisted that the number of police is not the only issue. He said the department is trying to figure out how to be more efficient, so officers are available to respond to "priority calls," like shootings.