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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Increased police calls leads to staffing changes

Increased police calls leads to staffing changes

opinion Duluth,MN 55802 Gordon RamsayDuluth Budgeteer(218) 727-7348customer supporthttp://www.duluthbudgeteehttp://www.duluthbudgeteer.comIncreased police calls leads to staffing chaDuluth MN 424 West First Street 55802 Last week was very busy for the Duluth Police Department as we had some of our busiest days by call volume ever. I was listening to the police radio at my desk Thursday, Aug. 13, and calls were being dispatched nonstop. After hearing calls aired by dispatchers with no available squads, I left my desk and lent a hand on the street.

There were many calls for service waiting to be answered as they were triaged in order of seriousness.
I pulled up police calls that were waiting to be answered on my computer screen and was amazed to see five unrelated attempted suicides and one suicide that squads were dealing with — along with a host of other calls. I don't ever remember seeing six suicide-related calls in a day, never mind six occurring at the same time.

As I continued to look at the long list of calls waiting to be answered, one in particular caught my attention. It was from a local supportive housing unit where a disturbance was occurring in an apartment and staff members were concerned for the welfare of the tenants. I told dispatchers to assign me that call and I responded to the location.
A squad cleared another call and volunteered to go with me. As I was traveling to the call on I-35, I came across debris near the edge of the roadway and many cars pulled off to the side. It appeared there were about three different incidents at this location. I stopped to ensure no one required medical help and that everyone was safe. I heard the Minnesota State Patrol was a short distance away, so after determining immediate assistance was not needed I continued on to the assault call. At that point, the other squad had arrived on scene and I was concerned he was there alone, but I was stuck in slow-and-go traffic and arrived a few minutes later.

When I arrived at the building, the staff members there looked frustrated and said they had been waiting for an extended period of time for us to get there. I apologized for the delay, explained that all squads were tied up, jokingly offered to deputize them and went to the apartment. The officer on scene had things under control and the apartment dweller said he was on the phone with an ex-wife and he became enraged.
The increase in police calls is likely due to a number of variables, including a lack of resources for the mentally ill, our push to report suspicious activities, the proliferation of cellular phones, and people calling the police for issues they never used to call for.

Lastly, a drug culture has taken hold in our country and we are dealing with the effects through noticeable increases in drug-related issues.

In 1993, the Duluth police handled about 135 calls per day that involved a total of about 50,000 incidents. In 2014, that number increased to 276 calls per day that involved more than 100,000 incidents. When I took over as police chief in 2006, if we had 300 calls for service in a day we knew the squads were busy; a busy day for squads now is 350-400 calls.

I am concerned that our response times are delayed due to high-call volume as well as when we don't have a backup officer available for an officer when needed.

A few years ago we reluctantly pulled officers from east and over the hill to help with the increase in call volume in the core areas of the city. While that helped temporarily, a more thorough plan will roll out Jan. 1, 2016 which will change shift lengths and times to ensure we are staffed properly at the busiest times of the day.

Our 2016 staffing plan also includes expanding our community policing efforts from a few to every officer in the patrol division; no longer will community policing be a specialized unit or "that guy's job," but instead every police officer will be engaged in solving problems and building relationships.


  1. G., chief I am saddened for our city that calls have increased- honestly I'd need to call and I'd need officers and not be provided them as well, that's what happens with an overworked department in any business or government...I'd have police misconduct issues because of the stress put upon your team-- good people even being sexist toward me under pressure to reduce calls for service, two federal issues lately and lots of communication calls including one matter threatening a peace officer, and yes drug issues seemingly always-- you gotta train for both mental illness calls and for calls that require immediate responses, calls about computer issues G that move faster than your team either responds to assign an investigator or to address at the patrol level-- I'd get no advise to deesculate the situation with a cop hater tweeting venom and continuing to harass me on Twitter afterwards- I had the goods on him, screenshots of Twitter threats but unfortunately you'd need to block me on Twitter so you would stay safe-- not from me G, I'd be prey both to the cop hater and a federal officer out just for his sexual saftifaction and ego on Twitter-- I'd be a statistic, one of many calls for service, repeatedly having to call lately-- citing me isn't the answer to reduce your calls G., never was but one supervisor did cite me out of anger at me at the frustration of too little people servicing one great big city-- I'll do my part, I'll try to message junior officers and who I'd be assigned to and I'll wait but dealing with a guy on Twitter who could be a homicidal cop killer from his threats and comments, " officers deserved to die" and we should be," shot gunned in the face" -- you deal with overwork and pure evil G., listen my dear friend I'll do my part I'll wait and constructively criticize when I think it may help good officers but honestly G. Being treated in a sexist manner by a training lead officer , treated as a crying female to reduce calls for service when I'd request a call back through a patrol supervisor happens only because you are overworked-- hire more, tell the mayor and tell the city-- every officer needs to community police G., I commend you not only for you efforts but for lending a hand and I only wish I didn't need your team-- I'm not a crying female, I'm hurt and needy and when I'd ask for a call back I need service to offer protection and care, something some officers are very good at, others are just laughing at me G., calling me crazy and falsifying when federally accurate info is needed-- police desk worked for justice for me-- they get my vote for," officer of the year" Paige and the young gentleman... Forget names like his-- G. Be safe esp on patrol, my appointment with you when you have no time and I'm just stopping by the department for reports, is a request to hug my handsome friend the Chief of police-- I'll call ahead to your office and be quick about it, like on Twitter I'm never completely safe to handsome officers but I value your marriage G and your family. Give me that grin G. Because surely it's out of admiration that I truly love my team and my handsome friend the chief, truly and with all my heart, G. Ramsay... Love, L.

  2. Listen G late to me... ps Greenwalt's care and Hopp's tender protection and missing a co- worker- with you for you and excellence in them both tonight! Sorry I have so much to say but I'd rather say it and keep others safe too! Joel and Kelly awesome human beings you have there-- good luck with staffing concerns!

  3. G. I'd ask for your response, both as a friend to me when I was hurt by someone and as a Chief.....I don't know if we can talk either by computer or in person but I'd like to. I was pleased to meet Anna the new embedded departmental social worker, by phone the other day, thanks to Officer Pete Stauber's continuing care for people and for our community. I too would tell Pete that I was hurt...G. It was by an officer...someone I'd introduce you to on Twitter....I don't blame all officers or all men...but I am feeling guilty and stupid and sad...and I am missing you, my friend....I hope we can reconnect in some way, but I know you are probably ashamed of me, too busy and unable to talk or to get the hug I stopped by to give you the other day- next time- and till we meet again, sir I love and respect you and I love and respect your team and their hard work for people and risking their lives to protect other! Thank you sir, and I hope we can talk and hug later.

    1. Had lunch w Anna today- great person! Great for you and the team and for me... She said Department wasn't going to cite me- thanks sir- I have only called " necessarily", honest!!!

  4. Gmail accessed by someone- not sure who at 9 pm.... Reported and dealing with in am!

  5. Asked for a k-9 officer, had a child at risk-- only 16 hours later I get an officer( one who I can't trust as she submitted falsified info about me!)-29 hours later I get to make a report-- today I am screamed at by an officer; that busy huh???

  6. 29 hours- two/ three hours wait- I told the mayor you need the social worker to change the climate police would give mentally ill people-- nobody better than being assigned to an officer I could trust that I'd pat on the back and feel INCREDIBLY SAFE WITH; bus officer Ethan Roe is a wonderful officer and a good man and I'd want the public to know that they are very safe on buses now ! Thanks to a kind and caring patrol supervisor to make the assignment too!