Salt Lake City police tout improving response times as ‘busiest time of year’ begins

Salt Lake City police respond to a fatal shooting in the parking lot of the Taylor Gardens Apartments, 1790 S. West Temple, in this Sunday, May 29, 2022, file photo. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, June 2, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — As the typically busy months of summertime crime begin, officials say response times to police calls in Utah’s capital city are improving.

Response times for May 2022 improved by an average of 16 minutes, 27 seconds from May 2021, the Salt Lake City Police Department stated in a news release Thursday.

“We know the seasonality of crime is a well-known phenomenon,” Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown said. “Crime trends often peak in the summer and decrease in the winter. That means we’re entering our busiest time of the year.”

Brown said faster response times continue to be a high priority for the department, as they’re often tied to crime clearance rates, probability of suspect apprehension and public safety.

In November 2021, Brown and Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall released an update to the Crime Control Plan to lower crime, improve response times, fill authorized staffing levels for sworn positions and continue building community relationships.

The strategies outlined in the plan include expanding recruitment and hiring efforts, developing a violent criminal apprehension team, implementing the civilian response team, and expanding the department’s call diversion program and its online reporting capabilities.

“While I’m glad to see our response times have improved, we’re not investing in hope,” Brown said. “We’re investing in proven solutions to help diversify our response to calls for service so when there is an in-progress emergency, we have officers available to respond as quickly and as safely as possible.”

The average response time for police calls in May 2022 was 32:15 — a 16:27 improvement from May 2021, according to the police department. The average response time for Priority 1 or urgent calls improved by nearly four minutes to 10:46 from a year ago, the release states.

The police department has requested additional funding in the 2023 fiscal year budget to expand and diversify its ability to handle certain low-level, non-hazard calls.

One of the proposals includes implementing a civilian response team to handle calls about damaged property, lost property or found items, allowing officers to focus on higher-priority calls.


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