NOPD cuts emergency response times by nearly half - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

NOPD cuts emergency response times by nearly half

(Source: FOX 8 File) (Source: FOX 8 File)
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -

Police are responding quicker to emergency 911 calls according the latest numbers from the New Orleans Police Department.

In a series of investigative reports in October of last year, FOX 8 highlighted slow response times across the city. Chief Harrison says new strategies are now making a difference.

"I heard you loud and clearly towards the end of the year when our citizens told us you're taking far too long to get to calls."

FOX 8, along with our partners at NOLA.com-The-Times Picayune, reviewed NOPD response times in our series "Dangerous Delays."

We found that in 2015, the NOPD responded to the scene of alleged crimes on average of 1 hour and 13 minutes after the call was dispatched. 

FOX 8 took a closer look at emergency calls, such as shootings, armed robberies and murders. In October of 2015 it took the NOPD about 20 minutes to respond to those calls. As of February of 2016, the average response time has dropped by more than 40 percent to about 11 minutes.

Chief Harrison believes a smarter deployment strategy made the biggest difference.

"We implemented a five platoon system that instructed every district commander to implement in their district. So we went from having three platoons to five so we have overlapping platoons that overlap the shifts."

The chief says that new platoon system is saving time. He says the overlapping officers answer emergency calls more quickly. Harrison also says moving 54 additional officers to street patrols has made a difference.

"We realize that that's not really enough because that gets to about an 11 minute response time on average and we really want to get to an about seven minutes response 90 percent of the time."

When it comes to non-emergency calls, which are calls for things like theft and disturbances, police on average take much longer to respond. In October of last year, it took the NOPD on average 190 minutes, or a little more than three hours to respond to those calls.

The response times came down over the next few months and then spiked again around Mardi Gras. As of this month, the average response time for non-emergency calls was about an hour and ten minutes.

Chief Harrison says a new alternative police response is helping.

"We encourage citizens to call us by phone to report that. We take on average 200 a month but then in the very near future, on-line reporting will be up and available to report on line a theft."

Even with all of the new strategies and policy changes, Chief Harrison knows response times must continue to drop. He says no matter what, additional manpower is key.

"The real issue is having more police officers to deploy so that the citizens won't have those concerns."

FOX 8 asked Chief Harrison about the decrease in emergency response times being only over a 4 month period, but said he believes the numbers are strong and the decrease will continue.

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