A West Valley City, Ut., woman called 911 to report that her daughter’s live-in boyfriend was on the way to kill her daughter and their two children and may have a gun. Police arrived more than 16 minutes later. A Salt Lake Tribune analysis found that when someone calls police to report a serious crime in progress, it takes West Valley cops an average of 11 minutes, 45 seconds to arrive. That’s nearly twice the wait Salt Lake City residents experience and the slowest response among 10 Salt Lake County police agencies that provided data for the analysis.
For domestic violence – the most common type of emergency call – West Valley City police respond on average just short of 17 minutes. If that domestic situation involves a weapon, the response is more than 10 minutes. The results also came as a surprise to West Valley City Police Chief Thayle “Buzz” Nielsen, who called response to emergencies “the backbone” of policing. The department typically includes officer-initiated calls in its response times, shaving minutes off of the average. Overall, the Tribune found response times to Priority One calls were much longer than those reported by some departments to city leaders. Departments had skewed averages by including “zero” response times from officer-generated traffic stops, and excluding the time dispatchers took to contact officers.