The Scottsdale Police Department has a responsibility of more than 225,000 residents — not including tourists, employees and neighboring residents that come to enjoy the city’s unique offerings — that it looks out for day after day.
Last year, more than 120,000 calls for service from Scottsdale residents were made requesting help from a police officer.
When an emergency arises, big or small, the police are counted on to arrive within a reasonable time.
During 2015, the average emergency response time for all calls was 5 minutes and 12 seconds, according to records obtained by the Scottsdale Independent.
Calls for service from a citizen reached 123,077 in 2015 — a fever pitch over the last nine years, with the lowest number of citizen’s calls being 109,020 in 2014.
“Anywhere we can look at that and judge that, we are always looking back and making sure we are doing the best we can.”
Within the 31 miles that the city of Scottsdale stretches across, the police department operates in four districts: the McKellips District; the Downtown District; the Via Linda District; and the Foothills District.
Each of these four districts are broken down into territories called beats, which officers patrol. When a call for service is answered, it is categorized into a priority.
“That’s how we triage a call and how we assign a priority when it comes through,” said Officer Watts. “Our goal as a department is for our response to our priority 1 calls to be at or less than 5 minutes. That’s the benchmark that we shoot for, and currently that’s where we’re at now.”
Priority 1 calls received between October 2014 and October 2016 include: armed robbery, burglary, aircraft problem, carjacking, kidnapping, emergency calls related to drowning, not breathing or unconscious, sexual assault, gunshots, suicide, foot or vehicle pursuit, and threat with a weapon.
District 1’s average response time was 2 minutes and 28 seconds; district 2’s average response time was 2 minutes and 15 seconds; district 3’s average response time was 4 minutes and 7 seconds; and district 4’s average response time was 4 minutes and 44 seconds.
“Usually what you’ll see in the graph is travel time for the most part,” said Officer Watts. “Obviously a big part of that will come into play is geographic space itself. If you look, our district 4 as far as acreage and mileage is our biggest.”
Priority 2 calls involve emergencies of some sort, and is given a district 1 average response time of 2 minutes and 14 seconds, according to the records.
Following, all other priority calls increase in small increments in time, up to priority 9 calls, which ranges from 13 minutes to 26 minutes in time.
Priority 9 calls includes a welfare check, an abandoned vehicle, an aircraft problem, a crime scene specialist, and a K9 narcotics search.
Officer Watts says the department is held accountable for how swiftly it responds to calls by the city council and by the public.
“Our priority response times, we report that quarterly to the city council,” he said. “Another big fact of what’s too long is by citizen’s response and comments and, ‘are we getting complaints?’”
The department is staffed with 401 sworn officers across all patrol bureau’s and special assignments such as traffic units, detective units, bicycle units and so on.