City survey results show decreased satisfaction with police response times

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A city survey of more than 4,000 Kansas Citians released last week showed a decline in satisfaction with police response times-- one of the few categories to slip in the annual report, touted by the mayor and city manager as evidence of a city on the rise.

The percentage of residents who said they were satisfied with how quickly police respond to emergencies dropped 6 percent, to 51.8 percent, one of the largest drops between years recorded in the survey in any category.

A review of police data shows that during the first three months of the year, the response rate for the top tiers of 911 calls were seconds slower than in 2012. In April, May and June the results were mixed.

For the year, that data showed police met their goal response times in less than half of the highest-tier emergency calls.

The goal for a so-called "priority ten" call is to have an officer on-scene in 7.5 minutes. So far in 2013, the average response time has been 7.77 minutes.

Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forte declined to discuss the data with 41 Action News, saying he needed more time to study it.

However, Kansas City Police Department Captain Tye Grant released a statement saying:

"Over the last few years the department has placed emphasis toward being responsive to not just calls for service but visibility and crime reduction by prioritizing resources to areas of higher violent crime.  While the data shows our response times have remained relatively consistent over the last year, we are still always striving to improve.  The average response time on priority one calls reflects essentially the amount of time it takes to safely drive from one point to another.  The response goal was a number chosen recently as the new goal due to meeting the prior goal and needing a new lower time to strive for.  The given goal times were chosen based on what we felt were realistic times needed for response times."

A police spokesman suggested that lower-priority calls, such as those made for property crimes, tend to have slower response times and could explain the drop in satisfaction numbers. The KCPD could not immediately provide data on those types of calls.

With 58 homicides recorded in Kansas City so far this year, crime continues to be a top issue for City Hall. The Kansas City Citizens Survey showed the city's overall efforts to prevent crime to be one of the issues citizens cared most about.

Overall efforts to prevent crime were up from 2012 by a fraction, with 41.1 percent of Kansas Citians satisfied.

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