Friday, November 27, 2009

It Isn't Their Fault...

There just isn't a cop around when you need one. There aren't enough Atlanta cops to go around. Calling 911, but where are police? �| ajc.com

So you call 911 because there is a police emergency, but there are no police available to respond. You wait, sometimes a long time.
Instead, the 911 operator sent an electronic message to a dispatcher for the Atlanta Police Department, who held the call — for 56 minutes and five seconds — before sending an officer to Phoenix Park. The dispatcher had no choice: The police department had no one available to promptly respond to a report of a man demanding sex from children.
A lot of really bad things can happen in an hour. Even if an officer is available, there are minutes of drive time. 56 minutes for an officer to be dispatched and then drive time is a very long time.
More than 24,000 times from January through July, or in 18 percent of incidents, according to the newspaper’s analysis of communications records, police dispatchers were unable to assign officers to calls relayed by the city’s 911 until after what the department defines as the acceptable total response time had elapsed.

The dispatch delays contribute heavily to what public safety experts describe as abysmal response times to emergency calls in Atlanta: Officers arrived on the scene of the highest-priority calls within five minutes just 9 percent of the time.
Even the victims give up waiting and leave the scene in some cases. (Forget about the perpetrators.)

Atlanta is certainly not alone with their budget problems, or their 911 problems. This is the way the world works. Sometimes when you call 911 to be rescued, there is no one available to come to your aid for a long time.

Calling 911 is fine thing to do. But if you think it is the answer to all of your problems, I think this brings to light some flaws in you thinking. For some number of minutes - 5 minutes or 50 minutes - you are on your own. This assumes that you have the opportunity to call for help BEFORE the crime is committed. If your cell phone is stolen or destroyed... what then?

You need to have a plan for how you will spend those 5 minutes, or those 50 minutes, or a plan of how you are going to get away and make that call. Assuming that "the system" will protect you, is not a very good assumption.

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