Austin Discovers That Police Are Required for 911 Calls to Be Answered

Who do they think responds to 911 calls? Austin Police Association believes recent 911 response time delays are the result of understaffing

First, why is there a staffing problem? Well aside from the War on Cops, that is…

Gov. Greg Abbott chimed in on the issue Monday, tweeting in part, “This is caused by Austin’s cuts to police funding & it endangers lives in Austin. The State must consider laws that take over policing parts of Austin.”

The Austin City Council voted to cut some funds from APD in August. A total of $150 million from APD’s budget will be reallocated. Of that, $49 million will be diverted to other programs, $21 million was reallocated immediately and $80 million will be reallocated later. Those cuts also included cutting some future cadet classes.

Add to that the continuing attrition in the ranks.

Casaday said that the canceled classes, coupled with what he believes is an increase in APD officers resigning, is causing the recent rise in 911 response times.

Recently in downtown Austin, when a “shots fired” call came in, there were no officers available to respond, because they were already dealing with other situations.

And if you don’t have a shots fired kind of emergency, you will wait for cops to show up. Hours for burglary, trespass assault, etc.

So. You need cops to answer 911 calls. And if you make cops think that they are not welcome in your city, they might just leave. So how is that defunding of police thing working out?


45 Minute Wait After 911 Call

The reality of living in a rural area is that you are on your own. Assault raises concern about police response time

A kid got beat up. His mother called 911. The Paramedics get there and take the kid to a local hospital. She is stuck waiting for cops. 45 minutes she waits.

But she says a sheriff’s deputy didn’t show up until about 45 minutes later. She was told Atwood Police were not on duty on the weekend, so other sheriff agencies are dispatched to respond. Eveland says, “Their excuse is that there are only a few officers on duty so they have to wait until one becomes available for them to send somebody else out. We’re in a small town so on weekends we either have to depend on them sending someone from Douglas County or Piatt County in Monticello. I understand it takes a little time to get here, but not that long.”

At that point, it certainly seemed like no one was in danger. Even under those conditions, this still seems like a very long time.

Calling 911 is a fine thing to do, but help will not arrive immediately, and in some places you might wait a very long time. You should maybe consider what you are going to do while you wait.

The Decline of Sweden.

Hand CuffsSweden was once one of the safest countries in the world. Immigration: Man Stabbed to Death by Migrant For Trying to Prevent Girlfriend Being Raped Was Targeted Over ‘Sweden Democrats’ Cap

A group of migrants entered a house party uninvited before 23-year-old Abubaker Mohamad Awad noticed the SD cap. Sweden Democrats is a right-wing populist party that opposes mass immigration.

So they killed him and raped his girlfriend.

They called emergency services (whatever their version of 911 is) but it took them over an hour to respond, and by that time it was too late.

After police arrested Awad, “he laughed in front of the camera at the arrest, made grimaces and victory signs with his fingers.”

Are we shocked to discover that he has a lengthy criminal record?

Violent crime and sexual assaults have significantly increased since the country accepted a new wave of migrants in 2015.

Hat tip to 90 Miles from Tyranny.

What If 911 Was Not Working?

What would you do? What was behind the nationwide 911 outage?

While most of the headlines talk about a “Nationwide” outage, most of the stories seem to be out of Minnesota with Arizona next in line.

WCCO first became aware of the outage at about 6:45 p.m. after being alerted by Minneapolis police. By about 7:15 p.m., service was reported being back online by several Minnesota law enforcement agencies.

From The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Emergency Communication Networks:

While the reason for outage is still under investigation, CenturyLink, or Lumen, they may have changed their name recently, says the problem originated on a partnering vendor’s platform when an internal networking component failed to correctly forward traffic. CenturyLink has said that the vendor is conducting an investigation of its own.

There is finally some actual information on the outage. Who’s Behind Monday’s 14-State 911 Outage? — Krebs on Security. First it seems NOT to have been caused by an outage, going on at about the same time, in Microsoft’s Azure Network.

Inquiries made with emergency dispatch centers at several of the towns and cities hit by the 911 outage pointed to a different source: Omaha, Neb.-based Intrado — until last year known as West Safety Communications — a provider of 911 and emergency communications infrastructure, systems and services to telecommunications companies and public safety agencies throughout the country.

So what would you do if you couldn’t call 911? Do you know the non-emergency number for your area’s dispatch center? It used to be hard to remember that stuff, but you can save it in your phone today, so there is no excuse. Of course if you are traveling that won’t help much, but it is a start.

Considering how much we have invested of our lives in the internet, most people are not aware of how fragile it can be. A key piece of hardware fails. A flood or a fire takes out a building at one of the backbone’s locations. A guy with a backhoe digs up a fiber-optic cable. A bit of software is configured incorrectly. An old piece of electronics not even connected to the net. Any of these things can have disastrous consequences.

Calling 911 in an emergency is a fine thing to do. They can send all kinds of help your way. But like every system built by humans it is subject to failure. And even when it doesn’t fail, help will not arrive immediately. You should have a plan aside from “Call 911.”

You’re In Public. You Have “No Expectation” of Privacy

This woman is insane. Tik Tok Trouble: Albany Park Woman Upset With Man Taping Her Without Consent.

CBS 2’s Meredith Barack has a warning from that woman and an apology from the man who posted the video.

It all began at a BP gas station at Pulaski and Montrose when Vanessa Gonzalez said a van pulled up and gave her an uneasy feeling.

Days later, she would find out the man inside was recording her. He said it was because she was texting while pumping gas, which signage does warn against.

She recommended that women call police. Really? You don’t want to be recorded, and you call the police.

So she wants to call the police….who will drive up in a camera equipped car, wearing a camera, and then probably be surrounded by half-a-dozen morons whipping out their camera phones….for something that is completely legal last time we checked. Legal and encouraged by society it would seem.

Even if he told the cops he was making a “spank video” for his own personal needs at home, it still isn’t illegal.

That link in the quote is Second City Cop, who gets the hat tip, and he has a point. People can video you when you are in public. Welcome to the 21st Century.

96 Minute Wait for Police After 911 Call

This is in Portland. Intruder with knife, boy being held: No Portland police response for 1 hour, 36 minutes

Guy with a knife threatening a kid and his dad. There were numerous calls to 911. Neighbors cornered him a block away. Cops never came, until after he had run off.

Police conceded the delay was unacceptable. They repeated what they’ve said to address previous criticism for holding back or recent slow response times: Their ranks are strapped by record retirements, covering months of social justice protests and other constraints.

Funny, I thought the people of Portland wanted to Defund the Police. I guess it isn’t actually all of the people who feel that way.

The first 911 call came in at 12:41.

Dispatch noted at 12:49 p.m.: “No units avail,” meaning no officers available to respond.

There is a fair amount of detail from dispatch to the 911 center, about how there were no officers to send.

Neighbor Dianna McAllister said police could have arrested the man if they had arrived sooner.

“A weapon and a child was involved,” she said. “If the police can’t respond to something serious like that, it’s just scary.

So, maybe you don’t want to defund the police?

Calling 911 is a fine thing to do, but when seconds count, police are only minutes away. And in some cases, they may not respond for a good long time. You should have a plan for what you will do while you wait.

Is Vancouver the Seattle of Canada?

And you thought aggressive homeless people were only a problem in the USA. Owner of Vancouver building says Gastown residents blocked by hostile campers

The owner of a rental apartment building in Gastown says there has been little help from the city, claiming hostile homeless campers are blocking residents from using the front entranceway.

Jon Stovell has been documenting seemingly deteriorating conditions around the property.

911 tells him to call the non-emergency number. Response to the non-emergency number is not very good. So he is doing the only thing he can, document the decline of his neighborhood on Twitter.

The president of Reliance Properties has been posting the pictures on Twitter, images ranging from spit dripping down the entranceway phone, human waste on the pavement, and what seems to be open drug use and dealing in the doorway of the building at Hastings and Carrall streets.

Maybe it is more the San Francisco of Canada.

The Mayor Is Disturbed That Cops Are Minutes Away

So Hagerstown, Maryland Mayor Bob Bruchey had a reason to call 911. Cops were not there instantly, and he didn’t like the way things were handled. County official says mayor distorted 911 reaction to theft call.

He said in a F*c*book post that he was “on the phone for 9 minutes.” He wasn’t. He hung up on 911 because he was pissed that cops were not there instantly.

The first officer, flagged down by Bruchey, called into the dispatch center 6 minutes and 21 seconds into the call to ask to be added to the call, that he’d been flagged down and was checking the area.

Someone arrived at his house at 8 minutes after he called 911.

This was for a property theft call, in which no weapons were involved.

But politicians expect better service than the rest of us can expect. And then there is the politics…

There was no reference during the county officials’ discussion about a dispute between the city and county regarding city officials’ recent decision not to make its annual $405,630 payment to the county for the 911 center.

So how does that work? I can just decide not to pay my property taxes? I don’t think so. But then politicians don’t believe that the rules apply to them.

And yes, if you call 911 they are going to ask you a bunch of questions. They are going to REPEATEDLY ask for your address.

It matters what is happening, but emergency personnel need to know where to go.

Screaming at the 911 call-taker is not going to help your situation.

Security Cameras Do Not Make You Safe

Is this really something that needs to be said? Apparently. WATCH: Security camera captures couple shot at by car burglars.

Violent criminals don’t stop being violent criminals because you are shouting about your security cameras.

So some people were trying to break into his car or cars.

Surveillance cameras around his home detected motion, so he investigated.

He was unarmed; they were armed. Can you guess what happened next?

The homeowner was grazed by a bullet on the shoulder but refused medical attention.

The suspects have not been detained or identified at this time.

He is lucky he didn’t get shot in the head for his trouble.

Okay, I often go on about how you can wait a really long time for a response to a 911 call, and you need to be prepared to take action yourself, but that is in cases where your life is in danger. When property is in danger of being stolen, just call 911 and wait. What did going outside accomplish for this guy? He almost got killed, and he now has bullet damage to the brickwork at the front entrance to his home.

Yes you need to be prepared. And yes being prepared doesn’t mean you should act recklessly. Property theft is one of the many reasons you have insurance.

Politicians and the Advice They Give

They are experts in everything. Just ask them, and they will tell you so. Brooklyn woman, 33, dies two weeks after she was shot eight times when she asked a man to stop setting off fireworks in the neighborhood.

First the advice.

Last month Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said that setting off illegal fireworks is a ‘nonviolent act’ and urged residents to ‘go talk to the young people or the people on your block who are using fireworks’ instead of calling 911 or 311.

What could go wrong?

But when [Shatavia] Walls did so, it ended up costing her life.

She told a man, who has not been identified, to stop with the pyrotechnics. He left and returned with a gun and shot at Walls and Hernandez as they tried to run away.

She was shot 8 times on July 7th, and she died on July 17th.

So will Eric Adams be held to any level of responsibility? Will he apologize? Will he even admit that he is wrong? He has gone to pontificating about the recent surge in gun violence; I don’t think he knows who Shatavia Walls was. I am sure he doesn’t care. (How can dwelling on this death help him politically?)

So just remember… Politicians are experts, even when they haven’t got a clue.

Life in a Cop-free Zone

Burglaries? Arson? Calling the cops is a sign of privilege, or something.

First up… Seattle man living in CHOP sounds alarms over safety: ‘We’re sitting ducks in here’.

“We are just sitting ducks all day,” Matthew Ploszaj told Seattle-based KIRO 7. “Now every criminal in the city knows they can come into this area, and they can do anything they want, as long as it isn’t life-threatening. And the police won’t come in to do anything about it.”

Ploszaj said he called 911 after witnessing a burglar break into his courtyard and steal a bike, the outlet reported. Then he said the dispatcher told him there was “nothing we can do” unless someone’s life is in danger.

Then there is arson. “Nobody showed up”: 911 calls bring no response after break in at auto shop near Capitol Hill protest zone.

They caught a guy who tried to burn down their business. They managed to put the fire out, but they are inside CHOP.

“At some point he tried to cut me with a box cutter,” Mason said. He pointed to a large rip on his jeans from where the knife cut just his pants.

McDermott said he kept trying to call 911

“I’m told 19 times,” he said. “They alluded they were sending someone… finally said they weren’t going to send somebody,” McDermott said.

“I don’t know what to expect next. If you can’t call the police department, you can’t call the fire department to respond, what do you have?” McDermott said.

Cops wouldn’t come. The mob descended and they had to let the guy go. Justice? What’s that? (Hat tip to Wirecutter.)

The people who live in CHAZ CHOP (when did they change the name?) didn’t get a vote on being in a cop-free zone. They just have to live with the conditions that prevail. Which is pretty much being left on your own. (see the quote from Hobbes’ The Leviathan after the break.) And CHOP does refer to the The Reign of Terror in France in 1793, in which 17,000 people were guillotined.

Continue reading

Another County Struggles to Deal with 1990s Tech

A couple of weeks old, but still worth a look. Wright County Receives Grant To Get Closer To Completion Of Next Generation 911.

And by “Next Generation” they mean those newfangled cellular telephones that everyone is using now.

For almost a decade, Minnesota has been in the process of creating an enhanced Next Generation 911 emergency calling system. Catching up with the challenges created with technological advancements that don’t use the traditional means of accessing the 911 system – computers and wireless devices – the need was identified to get past the antiquated landline phone system used to identify callers when the 911 system was created and those advanced technologies didn’t exist

“I’m gonna party like it’s 1999” is running thru my head right now.

Hey, points for trying. You would have gotten more points if you hadn’t waited 30 years to see if this technology was going to catch on.

For those not paying close attention, 2 things happened in 1991. The 2G specification (GSM) was written and released, and Sony introduced the lithium-ion battery. Nokia introduced their 1st cellular/GSM phone in 1992, and Motorola introduced the first cellular phone that was a Flip Phone (the Startac) in 1996.

This is the technology, together with GPS data, that cities and counties are struggling to deal with.

12 Minute Wait for 911 Response

That’s a long time to wait, and something bad did happen. Denver police eye 911 response time after killing.

Authorities were investigating Wednesday whether Denver police responded quickly enough to a woman who was fatally shot at least 12 minutes into a 911 call in which she said her husband was hallucinating and asking her to shoot him.

Cops got there just after her husband took a gun out of a safe and shot her in the head, killing her.

Calling 911 is a fine thing to do, it can bring all kinds of help, but you might want a plan for what you are going to do before they get there, because it might take them the rest of your life.

NYC – A Shortage of EMTs and an Increase in 911 Calls

The results are not shocking. New Yorkers are dying as ambulance response times surge amid coronavirus.

The statistics are a bit surprising though.

Understaffed and overwhelmed with coronavirus cases, EMS response times have doubled in the Bronx — to an excruciating 24 minutes and 55 seconds in March from the month before.

That’s for all responses, not just the most life-threatening. But even so… What’s the point of living in a hellhole like NYC if you can’t even get spectacular 911 response times?

All the stats are at the link above.

As for the EMS shortage, that article above links to one from January of 2019. NYC’s emergency worker shortage has become a crisis.

As some 900 FDNY paramedics and EMTs have left to become firefighters in the last year, the city’s ability to respond to medical emergencies has reached a crisis point, union leaders warn.

Over the last 12 months, official data show, the average time to reach people in cardiac arrest or choking rose by 24 seconds — an increase that can mean life or death.

The geniuses that run New York City have structured things so that EMTs cannot get ahead, and so those 900 left EMS to become firefighters, because their pay can increase substantially as firefighters.

So you have that situation as a baseline, and add in the COVID-19 insanity, and you get a completely predictable outcome.

COVID-19 Hits Emergency Response

Too bad the people of NYC won’t take the Coronavirus seriously. Law and order fears for NYC as nearly 10,000 NYPD and FDNY members call out sick amid a rise in burglaries.

  • 3,000 emergency medical technicians, paramedics and firefighters called out
  • The number of 911 calls being placed is among the highest ever recorded
  • More than 400 members of the FDNY have tested positive for the coronavirus
  • At the NYPD one in six are calling out sick – around 6,500 members in total

And this story doesn’t cover it, but others were dealing with the problems that 911 call centers are having, both with continuing staff turnover, and with COVID-19. Most emergency management call centers are not equipped to have people answer phones at home.

A Lesson in Scarcity of Resources

Or what happens when hospitals are overwhelmed? NYC Response Times Lag Because Ambulances Wait in Line at the ER.

New York City ambulances are taking almost three minutes longer than usual to respond to the most critical distress calls, mainly because of administrative bottlenecks in overwhelmed emergency rooms.

So all those kids who said they wouldn’t be impacted by COVID-19, had better hope they don’t get in a car accident, or get shot or stabbed, or get badly burned in a fire, or …

Oakland PD – Paperwork Causes 2-day Wait for 911 Response

Only a politician (or a political bureaucrat) would expect that a serious increase in paperwork wouldn’t take any time at all. Or impact 911 response. Oakland PD Abandons New Policy Which Left Cops Unable To Respond To 911 Calls.

They had to do all this extra paperwork for use-of-force. Hours of paperwork. During the same shift.

As a result, officers have been holed up writing reports for an average of two hours each shift, while high-priority calls for shootings, assaults, robberies, and other 911 calls continue to roll in.

“If you had your house broken into and you needed a police officer to show up, it’s not uncommon now for someone to wait two, three days for a police officer to show up,” OPD Lieutenant Bryan Hubbard told the East Bay Times.

That is procedural insanity at its finest. So after only 2 weeks (or so) the policy was dumped. That is perhaps the MOST amazing thing about this story.

“I don’t think anybody anticipated this,” Oakland Police Commission Chair Regina Jackson said of the reporting policy.

In the words of Bugs Bunny, “What a maroon.”

8 Hour Response Time to 911 Call

And the caller made it clear that an assault was in progress. 911 caller draws attention to police response time after murder of Milwaukee mom, daughters.

Relying on “The System” to protect you in an emergency is a losing strategy.

“It was like a lot of loud thumps against my bedroom wall,” Lee said.

She heard a woman, who she eventually learned was Amarah Banks, crying for help.

“So I jumped up, I grabbed my phone, and I called 911.”

Cops didn’t show up until the next day, to draw their usual chalk outlines around a mother and her daughters.

Now maybe a quick response wouldn’t have saved this woman. But 8 or 9 hours? That is insane. And a quick response would have been measured in minutes.

No one in “authority” is saying anything. “We can’t do shit until after the trial” is not quite what they said. But it’s what they meant. And they are hoping that in 2 or 3 years after the murder trial, this will have been forgotten.

It’s also possible that a gun, either in the dead-woman’s hands, or in her neighbors’ hands might not have changed the outcome. There are no guarantees in this life. But expecting the cops to save the day is beyond wishful thinking, it is delusional.

Electronics Form Part of Your Infrastructure

And anyone who purchased a smartphone in the past 5 years knows that technology isn’t cheap. Public safety committee considering new Hawkins Co. emergency communication equipment after major malfunctions.

As Miller explained, Hawkins Co.’s radio communication equipment, which is used by law enforcement, EMS and fire departments within the county, has been malfunctioning off and on since the beginning of November and has been completely offline since Dec. 18.

Nothing lasts forever, and that includes electronic communications gear. In this case, however, while they talk about recent outages, it isn’t clear that the radio system deployed ever really lived up to what the county needed.

Areas around Clinch and Slate Hill had poor to no service even when the communication was properly functioning.

Replacing the radio system will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

When you call 911 for a crime situation, you are counting on police to come and save your ass, but if officers can’t communicate with each other, or the 911 dispatch center, there are so many more opportunities for things to go wrong. They will move slow, and they may not have all the messages you’ve given the dispatcher. You don’t have to imagine all the ways that can go bad, all you have to do is read the news.

911 Response: 20 Minutes in Austin, 2 Hours in Fargo

If your plan in the event of bad things happening is to call 911, you probably should come up with a plan for what are you going to do while you wait?

First up, Austin, Texas. Austin Police Open Internal Investigation Into South Congress Stabbing.

It’s unclear at this point whether or not the total response time – 20 minutes from when 911 was called until the officer arrived on-scene – is unusual for an early Monday morning call, but an APD spokesperson confirmed to the Chronicle that the internal review would also look at that question

Shift change? Who knows. (Not them.)

Then there is the problem of snow storms. It took deputies 2 hours to respond to a domestic during a blizzard. Now the sheriff’s buying a plow.

Somehow I thought this would have been taken care of by now.

Cass County Sheriff Jesse Jahner said he was “nervous” during the raging Dec. 29 blizzard when his department had a call from a woman in the rural part of the county who said she and her young child were hiding in the bathroom from her husband during a domestic dispute.

Because of the weather, they had to call out a county employee to drive a snow plow. Now they are going to have their own on the front of a pickup.

The sheriff had actually budgeted for this item, but he switched to a “v-blade” after that incident, which costs more, so he needed an extra 3 grand or so.

Calling 911 is a fine thing to do, but they won’t be there in an instant. You should plan for what you are going to do in the meantime. You may be waiting a long time.