FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Katie Dunn woke up to another report of a crime in her neighborhood this morning.
“Somebody had a break-in over in Saratoga today that they posted first thing this morning.”
Dunn is worried about how long it takes police to arrive when she and her neighbors call for help. It’s been a concern of her far North Fort Worth neighborhood for months.
“We’re so far up here, the closest police department at Beach.”
This afternoon, Fort Worth City Council members discussed their concerns about the delayed response times in several Fort Worth neighborhoods including Dunn’s. The council reviewed a city report highlighting the increase in response times in the Fort Worth Police and Fire Department.
The I-team first reported this problem in May when it revealed how several North Texas Police Departments have increasing response times to “Priority 1” emergencies such as robberies and crimes in progress.
The I-team also learned that while Fort Worth grew by 40,000 residents from 2010 to 2014, the number of patrol officers dropped during that same period.
While the I-team reviewed all North Texas cities, the patrol officers in far North Fort Worth had the slowest response times in North Texas. In the city’s own report, it finds if you call for help from north Fort Worth, it will take an officer nearly 12-minutes to respond– that’s one-and-half minutes longer than it took officers in 2014. In south Fort Worth, it can take nearly ten-minutes. That’s more a minute longer than it took officers in 2014.
Fort Worth City Manager David Cooke says the city is reviewing the just-released report and will now consider how to budget for more officers.
“You look at resource allocations…even if you had the same amount of resources. You ask do you want to add to police and take it from somewhere else or is there enough revenue from growth to pay for some of these new needs?”
Fort Worth City Council Member Cary Moon tells the I-team adding resources needs to be a priority. In the afternoon council meeting, he said, “We’ve continued to see a lack of city services in this area. This is like a report card. And it says that waht we’ve been doing has gotten worse.”
The Fort Worth Police Association says this has become a “critical” issue.
The Fort Worth Fire Association says the city needs to “stop dragging its feet” on building new substations.
Even though talks are stepped up, the city is still years away from having new police and fire substations up and running.
Over the next few weeks, the council will consider how to allocate funds to budget for the new substations that they all agreed need to be built.
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