Chicago police response time is down in 2012

March 9, 2012

Michell Eloy

Though the Chicago Police Department received more 911 calls in January and February of this year compared to the same time last year, the average officer response time is down in the two months, according the department.

In an emailed statement, the police department said average response time for "Priority 1" calls, emergencies requiring immediate response, was reduced from 4.01 minutes to 3.46 minutes for the two months. For low prioritoy calls, response time dropped from 6.03 minutes to 5.40 minutes.

Police spokeswoman Melissa Stratton attributed the improvements to the city's plan to move more officers from desk jobs and specialized units to street patrol beats.

But Fraternal Order of Police President Michael Shields criticized the police department's findings. He said the city's emphasis on beat patrol ties police officers to radio response and keeps them from doing as much preventative work.

"The direct result is they're racing from one 911 call to another 911 call and they don't have the time to do the police work that they used to," said Shields.

Though response times are down in the city in January and February of this year, police crime data said there were 12 more murders in those two months compared to the same time frame last year.

City crime overall was down 13 percent for the same two month period. Murder and shooting incidents were the only two categories with increases.