CLEVELAND (WJW) — The Fox 8 I-Team has found two people robbed in Downtown Cleveland who waited an hour and 20 minutes for police.
Records show that, generally, everyone is now waiting longer for Cleveland Police after calling 911. In fact, even in critical emergencies.
The I-Team took a close look at response time in light of that extreme case and the size of the Cleveland Police force shrinking.
Police video shows officers showing up to check out a downtown robbery. We learned police arrived more than an hour and 20 minutes after the first 911 call.
The hold-up happened in July, and police recordings have now been released to the I-Team.
You see an officer ask, “What happened?” A victim of the robbery says, “Four or Five guys hopped out with masks.”
Thursday, we caught up with the victim on the phone, and we asked her to describe waiting so long for police.
She said, “It was frustrating. I was scared.”
A downtown security guard had even called 911 asking, “Where are the cops?”
He said, on the call, “Is there an estimate of how quickly the police come? We just had a robbery.”
A dispatcher then says, “It looks like we are extremely busy, but we’re working on getting someone over there.”
The victim we spoke to also said, “The cops should’ve been there. I don’t even know what to say about it. It still bothers me to this day.”
The I-Team found people waiting longer than before for Cleveland Police no matter the kind of call. Records show the median response time for top priority calls is now ten and a half minutes. An increase over last year.
The records also show the median response for second-priority calls is 16 and a half minutes. And, for third-priority calls, more than 50 minutes.
The I-Team has revealed many times the Cleveland Division of Police is chronically short-staffed, down hundreds of officers.
That victim told us her message to the Mayor is, “Clean up the City. Hire more policemen.”
City Hall just recently agreed to more money and bonuses for new recruits. The City also recently hired a company to attract more recruits. But, no quick fix.
We checked. The City does not even have a date for when a new class of recruits will start training. And, once they start, they’ll be in training for about seven and a half months.
That victim who’d waited an hour and twenty minutes for police also expects to wait to see more officers on the street.
She said, “I’ve been hearing this for a long time. I’ll believe it when I see it.”
As for that long delay after the robbery call, the Chief sent an e-mail response to our inquiry.
That response said, “At the time the call for service for this particular incident occurred, our Third District patrol section was experiencing an extremely high call volume, including a call for a homicide with a large crowd and other high-priority calls. As with any calls for service that result in delays, our dispatchers maintain communication with the caller(s) and with the field supervisors to provide the most appropriate response.”
“Further, during high call volumes, field supervisors also monitor and evaluate the pending calls for service to include the immediate safety of the caller. In this incident, the victim was in a safe location with the Security Officers at the Jack Casino, they remained with security until officers arrived. “