Chicago, IL – As of Sunday, 911 Chicago dispatch will no longer be directing officers to every scene of a crime. Instead, officers will be assigned to “light duty” by taking reports over the phone for crimes like vehicle theft, garage burglaries, bad checks, and situations of lewd or obscene calls where the victim is not in immediate danger. Nearly 74,000 reports were taken last year in this manner.
This policy eliminates in-person police responses to various non-life threatening crime scenes. Essentially, unless there is an urgent need for medical attention or imminent danger present, don’t expect an offer to arrive in-person to assist.
The revamped 911 dispatch policy ties into the city’s initiative of freeing up officers so they can focus on more serious offenses, having a better response time for burglaries, assaults, and gang and drug related violence and crime.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently announced a separate plan to shift 200 officers from desk duty to patrol work in a similar effort of allowing officers to focus more on serious crimes and less on paperwork.
According to Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy:
“Clerks should be doing clerical work, not cops.”
As for the new dispatch procedure, one officer feels that responding to every case of civil unrest such as dogs barking or loud music and bouncing from call to call is a tedious drain on resources.
McCarthy expressed a similar notion regarding less than serious calls officers receive frequently:
“I’m not joking when I tell you that we’ve handled calls that say ‘my children are fighting over the remote control.’ Or ‘my daughter does not want to go to school. My son does not want to eat his mashed potatoes.’ Those are the types of calls for service quite frankly where I don’t know why we would tie up a police officer when that officer can be on patrol doing something affirmative, preventing something from happening.”
Do you think a change in 911 policies will help regulate the crime more efficiently? Have you ever known someone to call 911 over something not crime related or irrelevant?
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