Interim Dallas police chief addresses growing response times

Plan to Improve Police Response Times

DALLAS -- John and Christine Erdeljac say as soon as they learned someone had broken into their restaurant Sunday morning, they called Dallas police not once, but three times.

They say they even tried to flag down an officer.

"I said, ‘Couldn't you just go down there?’ and [the officer] said, ‘No, I am really sorry.’ He got in his car and drove away,” John Erdeljac said.

They waited more than 10 hours for police and couldn't open their restaurant, Jonathon’s, on its busiest day of the week.

"I know I didn't get murdered or anything like that. I understand that,” Erdeljac said, “but for me, it's the most important thing in my world."

Monday morning during the Dallas City Council public safety meeting, Interim Police Chief David Pughes addressed the response time at Jonathon’s.

"It's very upsetting to me,” Pughes said. “There's nobody that can give me any kind of an excuse as to why it would take us 10 hours to respond to any kind of call. That's not acceptable."

But, he says response times across the city are up this month. He says this year they have answered more than 22,000 more calls than last year, and there are 342 fewer officers to get the job done.

"We are being pulled in multiple directions,” Chief Pughes said. “Protest management, State Fair, dignitary visits — all that pulls your resources from multiple areas."

City Council members are concerned about the longer waits.

“We want to make sure that the police are dispatched in a good time and in a good fashion,” said Councilwoman Tiffinni Young.

Chief Pughes says he's working on that.

He wants to hire more civilian call takers who could take low-priority call reports, like stolen cell phones over the telephone, instead of sending officers to take reports.

That would free them up for calls like the one at Jonathan’s.

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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