City of Austin Performance Report 2014-15

Total Police Response Time for Emergency and Urgent Calls

Measure Description
In the Austin Police Department (APD), calls for service are received from citizens and prioritized for dispatch to patrol officers. The highest priority calls are emergency (imminent threat to life or public safety) and urgent (not emergency, but still require an urgent response). Using call priorities helps to ensure a rapid response to these critical call types, increasing the likelihood of a positive outcome.
Calculation Method
Total response time is calculated from the time the call for service is answered by a call taker to the time the first police officer arrives on scene. In addition, although response time for emergency and urgent calls is reported as a single result, the result is based on a weighted average. This allows differences in volumes for the two call types to be taken into consideration. In the chart above, the minutes are reported as decimals (7.3 being 7 minutes and 30 seconds).
FY 2014-15 Results
The FY 2014-15 goal set for this measure was 7 minutes 30 seconds. The result was 8 minutes 4 seconds, which was 8% slower than the goal.
Assessment of Results
Response time consists of three components: process time, dispatch time, and dispatch-to-arrival time. Communications staff (call takers) influence process time. Dispatch time is affected both by Communications staff (dispatchers) and patrol officer availability. Patrol officers' travel time is the primary driver of dispatch-to-arrival time. All three components have increased from the prior year. The FY 2014-15 process time was 1 minute 17 seconds, an increase of 7% or 5 seconds from FY 2013-14. The FY 2014-15 dispatch time was 1 minute 1 second, an increase of 11% or 6 seconds from FY 2013-14. The FY 2014-15 dispatch-to-arrival time was 5 minutes 45 seconds, an increase of 2% or 8 seconds from FY 2013-14. Overall, the FY 2014-15 result was 4% slower than in FY 2013-14, and it was 10% slower than the average of the last four years (FY 2010-11 through FY 2013-14).  
 From FY 2013-14 to FY 2014-15, the number of emergency and urgent calls dispatched increased 5% from 79,169 to 83,755. These calls have steadily increased each year since FY 2010-11, when there were 65,149 calls. Emergency and urgent calls demand more resources, which means other high priority calls have to wait for resources. A call cannot be dispatched if there is not an available officer to respond.
Picture of APD officer smiling out of a patrol car.
Next Steps
APD's Public Information Office (PIO) is working to increase recruitment for call takers and dispatchers to offset the high turnover associated with these jobs. PIO has posted on social media and developed a recruiting video. As a result, Communications is receiving significantly more applications for these critical positions. Additional funding for call takers and dispatchers was approved in the FY 2015-16 Budget. In addition, Communications added warning lights in 2015 to the call floor to alert staff when a call is holding. The goal is to reduce the number of calls holding for longer than 10 seconds.
Contact Information
For more information contact Darryl Jamail, Communications Commander, at (512) 974-0947.