From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.
Police response times was on the agenda of Advisory Neighborhood Committee (ANC) 2F/Logan Circle Wednesday, May 22. ANC 2F’s Crime and Public Safety Committee and its Community Development Committee (CDC) met simultaneously in adjacent rooms at the Washington Plaza Hotel that evening.
Public Safety: Response Times
A bicycle theft has prompted ANC 2F to look into local police response times and practices.
At the April ANC 2F meeting, Commissioner Peter Lallas, 2F-01, asked why it took Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers 15 minutes to respond to his call when he saw someone riding his recently stolen bicycle, even though 47 officers were on duty and there were no other emergency calls at the time.
Chief Cathy Lanier has said the MPD strives for response times of five minutes. The MPD promised to look into the matter.
“If police are not responding as promptly as we’d like them to, that raises several questions,” Lallas said in an interview later. “Do we have enough officers? Do we have the resources available to keep out area safe?”
Lt. Jeff Carroll of the MPD was at the Crime and Public Safety Committee meeting to follow up. Records showed response time for the incident was 14 minutes, Lt. Carroll said. Carroll explained 911 calls are answered by a DC agency called the Office of Unified Communications (OUC). This agency then directs response appropriately. In this case, records showed, the call took 10 minutes to go from the OUC to the MPD, after which the police responded in four minutes.
According to Lt. Carroll, the theft of Lallas’s bicycle occurred at the time of a police shift change. At these times, the police are effectively at half-strength, and criminals know when police shift change occurs.
“The MPD should never be at half strength,” Lallas said.
Lt. Carroll also said the MPD had some relevant internal numbers about staffing and response time. He will look into whether they can be publicly released and report at future ANC 2F meetings.
The above and more will be discussed when ANC 2F has its next regular monthly meeting Wednesday, June 5, 7 pm, at the Washington Plaza Hotel, 10 Thomas Circle NW.