The Milwaukee Police Department has addressed reports of delays in response times to calls. Here is what MPD had to say:
You may have read yet another 'news story' regarding Milwaukee Police response times in today's paper. We're not haggling over their calculation of response times because we're not sure exactly what they're basing their calculations on or how they're choosing to calculate the times, but we can provide the following facts:
- Comparing the four years before Chief Flynn started (2004-2007) to the time since he took office (2008-2011 YTD), the median response time for all calls (the time a call is entered by a call taker until the time an officer arrives on scene) increased by 3 minutes 15 seconds. Response times to Priority 1 calls for service (potentially life-threatening) increased by 33 seconds. During that same time frame, we have had 112 fewer homicides and 1,259 fewer robberies.
- So far this year (as of 6 a.m. Wednesday), our communications center has fielded 668,229 phone calls (911 and non-emergency calls for service). These calls have resulted in 203,878 dispatched calls for police services. This is responsive policing. During the same time period, officers have conducted 193,594 traffic stops and field interviews. This is proactive policing.
- As Chief Flynn stated when he took office, the measure of success for the Milwaukee Police Department is not the number of arrests or the number of tickets or the average response time to non-emergency calls for service. The measure of success for the Department is the reduction of crime, fear and disorder. Response times do indeed matter, especially for emergency calls for service, but they are not the solitary – or even the primary – measure by which this Department will be judged.
- The premise of the supposed 'investigation' into response times is that the MPD's proactive policing strategy means the Department has abandoned non-emergency calls for service. This is not an either-or proposition. The service the Milwaukee Police Department provides to the community is the armed authority of the state, and we continually balance the near infinite demand for this finite resource by prioritizing our workload. Our policy may sometimes require a slight delay in responding to non-emergency calls for service in order to simultaneously provide the proactive policing presence that has helped us realize a 27 percent decrease in violent crime and a 22 percent decrease in overall crime since 2007.