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HCSO responds to concerns on length of response times

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Lieutenant David Lewis HCSO gave an update at the Brooksville City Council meeting on Nov. 15, on their response times to 911 calls. There has been some concern from the public about three calls the Sheriff’s Office responded to last month. HCSO has located all of the calls in question and has created a presentation explaining their response times. 

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The first call in question was a theft that occurred at the Rising Sun Bistro on October 14th. It was presented to the public that the HCSO had taken 2 hours to respond to that. Lieutenant Lewis stated that from the time the theft call was created to the time that the first deputy was on scene was 6 minutes and 30 seconds. 

The second call was a robbery that occurred at 503 S. Main St. and it was presented that deputies took 30-40 minutes to respond. The call was created at 8:06 and the first deputy arrived at 8:12, making their response time 6 min and 12 seconds. Lewis stated that they deployed one of their drones to the scene as well. After the call occurred, the drone was in the air and looking for the suspect within 23 minutes and 8 seconds. This includes the drive to the scene as well as the test flight they had to perform before. The first forensic unit also arrived within 47 minutes of the call’s creation. 

The third call in question was a burglary at 100 S. Main Street. The call was received at 10:03 and the first deputy arrived on the scene at 10:11, making the total response time for this call 7 min and 44 seconds. Lewis stated, “This was particularly concerning for us because it was reported that the person who reported the crime, actually had to clear the building themselves because of the delay from law enforcement. I want to note that at 10:02 the telecommunicator noted that nothing appears to be missing, but the back door appears to be tampered with. At 10:04 the telecommunicator noted that the caller walked through the store and there was no one in it.  We look at call priority, every call that comes into the sheriff’s office is rated on a scale of priority. 1 being the most urgent and 5 being the least priority. In this case, it would have been a priority 2 call. It wasn’t priority 1 because there was no weapon and then this was downgraded to priority 4 because we were informed no one was on scene. The caller cleared the building before the call taker was able to create the call and it was confirmed 52 seconds after the creation of the call the building was cleared a second time.”

Lewis explained that it’s important to know that when the call taker receives the call, they have to answer a few questions to get started to try and figure out call type, priority type, so they start adding notes. Typically within a minute to a minute and a half is whenever the call is created. After this time the call is then sent to the dispatcher and is now available for a unit to be able to respond. 

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One thing the deputies require of the sheriff’s office is an accountability session, where they review any call that has taken over an hour to respond to. The sheriff’s office has to provide a justification as to why that call was held for over an hour time frame. They are required to review every unit working that day within the district that was able to respond to determine what type of call they were on and if it was a higher priority call than the call that was waiting.

Because of the concerns for length response times, Lieutenant Lewis conducted an analysis of all the calls from 2020 and 2021 to date. And in that time frame there were only two calls that held for over one hour. These two calls were: 

-November 2020 – Follow up – Additional information on a possible suspect. Held 1 hour and 33 min due to a shooting and a battery. 

-June 2021 – Delayed report of a verbal disturbance. Occurred at Winn-Dixie and reported from caller’s home. Held 1 hour and 14 min due to physical disturbance in progress, ex parte order, arrest, drunk pedestrian and agency assist. 

Lewis states, “Our average response times for all priorities combined was 15 minutes and 25 seconds. District two, which is basically the Spring Hill area, was 14 minutes and 20 seconds. For the City of Brooksville the average response time was 10 minutes and 55 seconds. For 2021, the average response times for all priorities combined for the City of Brooksville was 11 minutes and 27 seconds. District 2, the Spring Hill area, was 11 minutes and 23 seconds. Please take into consideration the reason these call averages were faster is because we were dealing with Covid.” During this time, calls that were able to be dealt with over the phone were being handled this way. This meant no longer dispatching a deputy to the scene. This is the reason for the faster call response times in 2021. 

 

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