Slower police response times have raised some red flags at Minneapolis City Hall.
In the fourth quarter of 2015, four of the five Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) precincts reported slower response times to high priority calls compared to the final three months of 2014.
The northside 4th Precinct had the most dramatic change, according to city records. The average response, from the time MPD received the 911 call, to the time it took an officer to arrive at the scene, went from slightly higher than nine minutes to more than 12 minutes.
The other three precincts that reported slower response times were about a minute longer in the fourth quarter of 2015 compared with the same time frame in 2014.
Minneapolis City Council President Barb Johnson has asked city staff researchers to give the council a more detailed analysis of the reporting period to see if the occupation of the 4th Precinct, by protesters in November, contributed to the slower response times.
Johnson told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, "We had a real challenge because we had the officers protecting the 4th Precinct tied up in the building and we pulled officers from other precincts to help respond to 911 priority calls and those officers simply did not know the streets as well and we think that played a significant role in slower response times, not just for the 4th Precinct, but all across the city."
An MPD spokesperson issued a statement agreeing with Johnson's assessment and added, "Citywide, officers dealt with two double homicide cases in that time period (November) which significantly tied up resources, making it tougher for our officers to respond to calls."
We reached out to leaders at Black Lives Matter, which organized the 4th Precinct demonstrations, but we have not yet received a reply.
The U.S. Department of Justice is reviewing how the city handled the 4th Precinct occupation and Council President Johnson said she thinks the detailed analysis of slower police response times during those events could assist the federal government in its review.
Johnson said she hopes the detailed report, of slower response times, will be ready for the next Public Safety Committee meeting on March 23.