Police Response Times Run High Amid Staffing Shortage

Dallas Police on a scene
Dallas Police on a scene | Image by NBC DFW

Police response times in Dallas are still running high amid the city’s police staffing shortage.

Calls to the Dallas Police Department are assigned a priority designation (1-4) based on the seriousness of the call, with P1 calls signifying serious emergencies, like an active shooter or a robbery in progress. P4 calls are at the other end of the spectrum, representing “non-critical” incidents.

According to the City of Dallas police response times dashboard, police are currently taking 11.3 minutes on average to respond to P1 calls. Response times are worst in DPD’s South Central Divison, where a P1 call takes 13.8 minutes on average to respond to. Last year, the citywide average response time for P1 calls was 9.4 minutes.

There is an alarming gap between P1 and P2 calls in terms of response times. P2 calls comprise incidents like business hold-ups, robberies, criminal assaults, major accidents, and in-progress auto thefts. The average response time for P2 calls is currently 107.9 minutes. It was 63.9 minutes last year.

It takes police 555.3 minutes on average to respond to a P3 call. Such calls include reports about random gunfire and burglaries. Last year, the average was 369.1 minutes.

P4 calls are averaging 587.1 minutes, hours longer than the 420.7 minutes DPD was averaging in 2022.

A City analysis claims that a jurisdiction the size of Dallas needs about three officers for every 1,000 residents, putting an ideal staffing level at roughly 4,000 officers. DPD currently fields fewer than 3,200 officers.

The effects of the staffing shortage have been felt in Downtown Dallas. The neighborhood clocks significantly higher crime rates than nearby Fort Worth’s city center, which is reportedly patrolled by a dedicated neighborhood police unit that works alongside private security guards.

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