Some in Peoria are waiting 14 minutes on 911 calls

Emergency response time is considered too slow in Peoria, where it takes up to 14 minutes to reach some areas.

PEORIA, Ariz. - Thomas Shipley moved to Peoria 12 years ago.

"I love this town," said Shipley.

It's why he started his business, Shipley Orthodontics, in the city. He is in many ways an unpaid spokesperson for the city, bragging about the city, the people and all it has to offer.

"It's a great place to live," said Shipley.

He is, however, a bit concerned about the police department, specifically response times in the northern part of the city.

"It's just unacceptable in a city like this," said Shipley.

Shipley is referring to a response time of 14 minutes at times in the northern sector.

"This is a recipe for disaster," said Shipley.

Joe Clure moved to Peoria a few months ago. He bought a house in the northern sector of the city, and started looking in to response times.

Clure says he discovered Peoria response times are the worst in the Valley.

"That is clearly unacceptable," said Clure.

A former cop in the city of Phoenix, Clure has started a citizens' action committee of sorts.

Clure says he is very supportive of most of the work the department is doing but is "very concerned" about the high response times in his community.

Clure, who knows a lot of Peoria officers, says they are overworked and understaffed.

"The guys, (gals) have a term, they call it 'Peoria luck' and one of these days it's going to run out," said Clure.

He is referring to a day when multiple, resource heavy, incidents happen at the same time.

Despite its size of more than 175 square miles, and population of 165,000 people, there are times when only 10 officers are patrolling the streets.

"This is one tragedy away from a disaster," said Clure.

Peoria Police Chief Roy Minter acknowledges the high response times in the norther sector.

"We need to do a better job," said Minter.

He also points to a department that has one of the lowest property crime rates and violent crime rates in the Valley.

"The commitment is there. The commitment continues to be there." said Minter.

The chief says the department has deployed an additional officer to the northern sector and that response times for critical calls has dropped recently.

Peoria is also in the process of hiring more than a dozen new officers. Ideally, Chief Minter says he would like to have about 14 to 18 officers patrolling the city and get all priority-1 response times between five and six minutes.

Clure plans to meet with the mayor in Tuesday and plans to bring up the issue at the next city council meeting.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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