More money, officers committed to Dallas 911 after slow response

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by REBECCA LOPEZ

Bio | Email | Follow: @rlopezwfaa

WFAA

Posted on May 31, 2013 at 10:48 PM

Updated Saturday, Jun 1 at 2:07 PM

DALLAS — One-million dollars in emergency funding will soon be used to put more Dallas patrol officers on the streets.

The move comes after it took officers more than an hour to respond to a robbery where someone was shot.

In a 911 tape, you can hear the store owner at Pepe’s Grocery Store in West Dallas yelling for police. He had shot a suspect who was trying to rob him.

But, police were busy on several other top-priority calls and couldn't get to the store quickly. It took nearly an hour-and-a-half.

There were too many calls and not enough officers.

After the incident, Dallas Police Association President Ron Pinkston said his group met with Dallas Police Chief David Brown.

“We thought the call load was increasing and growing bigger and bigger, and we had concern about officer safety, and we expressed that to Chief Brown," Pinkston said.

Documents obtained by The Dallas Morning News show that on average, police are getting to Priority One calls within seven minutes. Their goal is eight minutes.

But on Priority Two calls — like the one to Pepe's — it's taking officers more than 14 minutes to arrive. The goal is 12 minutes.

The Morning News has learned the department's overtime budget is around $10 million. The city manager has approved an extra $1 million, and the chief has ordered officers who normally respond to drug complaints to answer 911 calls throughout the summer months.

“It should help tremendously," Pinkston said. "There are going to be a lot more officers on the street with this extra money during vital times that we need them out there."

The owner at Pepe's didn't want to go on camera, but did tell News 8 he's relieved there will be more officers on the streets.

Chief Brown issued a statement saying staffing adjustments over the years have helped keep crime and response times low, and hopes these adjustments will do the same.

E-mail rlopez@wfaa.com

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