As of Sunday, a call to 911 call in Chicago won't necessarily result in a police officer on the scene.
In an effort to free up police around the city, Chicago's new 911 dispatch strategy went into effect Sunday and eliminates in-person police response for various non-life-threatening crimes and situations where the perp has fled the scene.
Specifically, calls to 911 that no longer qualify for an officer on the scene: vehicle theft, garage burglary, writing bad checks, lewd or obscene phone calls that pose no immediate threat crimes where the victim is “safe, secure and not in need of medical attention” and the offender is “not on the scene and not expected to return immediately," according to Sun-Times and Tribune reports.
The Sun-Times reports that while alderman brace for the political fallout from the chance, the Chicago Police Department hopes the shift will free up 44 officers a day.
Under the new policy, crime reports will be taken over the phone by officers assigned to "light duty," reports the Tribune. Last year, 74,000 reports were taken that way.
Police officers contacted by the Tribune said the idea is to eliminate "bouncing around" from call to call and instead focus on more serious crime, including gang activity and crime "hot spots."
"It's really a drain on resources to go to every nonsense call like the dog's barking or the music's too loud," an unidentified rank-and-file officer told the Tribune.
The change is not part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's recently announced plan to shift 200 officers from desk duty to patrol work.
The changes were initiated last summer when Police Supt. Garry McCarthy revealed the city would revamp its dispatch policy that, at the time, sent out officers for 70 percent of all 911 calls received. According to Fox Chicago, other cities dispatch police in roughly 30 percent of 911 instances.
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