san bernardino police

Ryan Hagen, Staff Writer
Posted: 12/17/2012 08:34:58 PM PST

SAN BERNARDINO – Police are taking longer to respond to emergency calls, Police Chief Robert Handy said at Monday’s City Council meeting.

Handy said the increase from an average of 4.9 minutes per call in 2011 to an average of 5.4 minutes now – comes mostly a new computer system that calculates statistics differently.

But a smaller police force and other effects of the city’s bankruptcy filing also contribute, Handy said in an interview after his presentation.

“Staffing levels are part of it,” he said. “There’s really a lot coming at the (Police) Department right now, and I would say all of that is part of it.”

Officers are increasingly calling in sick and worry they’ll lose part of their pension, paycheck or job, he said. While the number of patrol officers has stayed steady – 117 – sworn officers aren’t being replaced as they leave and some nonsworn officers were laid off.

“The biggest hole that we’re feeling in in response to calls now is our 13 Community Service Officer positions,” he said. “We no longer have any field CSOs.”

Handy said he looked forward to stability in the Police Department, which he predicted would come some time after a change in patrol schedules planned for January.

The response on non-emergency calls averages 30 minutes, Handy said.

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