... but then again, no one was speeding...


July 29, 2005, 06:35 AM
At 0455 today someone discharged a gun ouside my next door neighbor's house. I was already awake and tending to my daughter, who woke crying because our cat sat on a bug bite that's been bothering her. I looked out the window within 3 seconds of the shot and saw 2 guys that I've never seen before standing around with beer bottles and looking concerned. After some quick conversation between them and someone else I couldn't see because of the angle, they turned off all the lights and went inside.

I called police and gave them the description of the event as I knew it, and the description of the truck that one of the guys locked up when they went inside.

22 minutes later, a police cruiser drove by. :banghead:

Guess they had more important speed traps or donut shops to get back to.

Or maybe my neighborhood is considered a ghetto and police don't care about gunshots. Of course, only in Texas would ghettos have houses up to 4100 square feet that are less than a year old.

Ok, line up the cops to tell me that the local po po had no obligation to investigate. Or you can tell me that I don't know what a gun sounds like and shouldn't have called the police. :rolleyes: I'm really interested what excuses I'm going to get.

We're talking about the Grand Prairie, Texas, police department, just in case there's someone here who wants to tell me what a stellar organization it is.

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July 29, 2005, 06:56 AM
Even if you were totally wrong, a car back firing, thunder, a hard working laborer dropping a box of something, a door slamming-->22 minutes to respond to a 911 call?!?!
That is amazing.

July 29, 2005, 07:30 AM
"-->22 minutes to respond to a 911 call?!?! That is amazing."
Yes. That's the point in his story where I got stuck scratching my head too. A 911 call where somebody thought they heard a gunshot and they take 22 minutes before they get over there? In that situation, five minutes may be far too long.

Too long a story to explain, but we had to call in the police to our place last year. Took about 3-5 minutes for the first squad to show up. Within a minute or two later there was a backup (must have been real local when the call came in - no indication of need in the original call).

And that wasn't even a 911 call.

Billy Sparks
July 29, 2005, 07:38 AM
Just to play devils advocate here it was 22 minutes before you saw the patrol car, right? Could the officer have parked up the street and observed or gotten out of his car to check things out?

Also you don't know what else was going on in the city. I don't know how big your city was but all the units could have been tied up on a call cross town. I live in a medium sized city and it is not uncommon to here a dispatcher advise a sgt or lieut. that they are Signal 00 (all beat cars in that sector are tied up) and they have 911 calls waiting. Yeah they send a car from another sector but it can take time.

July 29, 2005, 08:44 AM
Third party report of a loud noise, possibly a gunshot. No reported injuries or damage. Officers are not going to rush to get there. Too many benign possibilities. Sorry guys. No story here.

In my county 20 minutes may account for the closest unit anyway.


July 29, 2005, 08:54 AM
I think, or rather I hope, that it was just a manpower issue. I know some of the rural departments around here estimate response times between 15 and 30 minutes during the night shift, because of only having 3 officers on duty.

My wife heard what sounded like gunshots coming from the wooded aea behind our home. It's a suburban development, so it's not a big enough area for safe shooting. She called me. I advised to take the kids inside to play in the basement, and call the police to request a drive-by. Doorbell rang in three minutes, with three cruisers. Turns out it was kids sticking M-80's in drainage pipes and trying to launch items out of the pipes. Officers said it sure sounded like gunfire to them as well. Talked to a sergeant I know later about the response time and he said it was good timing. Briefing for shift change had just ended, so three officers just went right from the station to our place.

July 29, 2005, 09:22 AM
Let us reiterate - this is why _I_ like having means of PERSONAL protection available:

While working on a rehab in the city, I witnessed a drive-by (more like a walk-by - he got out, walked around the car from the passenger side, stood in the middle of the road and dumped the whole mag at the target house, walked back to the passenger seat,and they drove off at a leisurely pace) from the third floor window. Called it in before the last round of brass hit the pavement.

20 minutes later the cops showed up, bitched me out (I had long hair at the time), told me not to make false alarm calls (while I was pointing at brass in the road) and didn't even get out of the car to go look at the target house. I didn't really push things, because officially we were squatting, since we didn't have an occupancy permit yet.

When I got mugged in the central part of the city, the first batch of po po who came by, about 10 minutes after the call, told me that I wasn't in their area. Seems that I'd been mugged right on the border. Other cops showed up in about 10 minutes more, and paid more attention to a report than to "hey, they went down that alley - do you think they may have dropped my wallet?" By then the muggers were probably already buzzed.

Outside my apartment building, a young lady who was driving down the road dropped a cigarette in her lap and was paying far too much attention to it. Totalled four cars (on a residential street!). Took 20 minutes for the first cops, and a bit more for EMS.

In another instance, a coed neighbor neglected to take her obviously much needed medication, stripped down to birthday suit, and proceeded to run up and down the street naked and yelling. This attracted a modest bit of attention.

Within five minutes the street looked like someone was giving away free donuts.

I know what kinda call I'm gonna put in if there's trouble.

El Tejon
July 29, 2005, 09:29 AM
Maybe it was an AD, "hey, Cledus, lookey here at my new pistol gun", and was reported as such??? :confused:

July 29, 2005, 09:34 AM
Out in somewhat rural Tennessee, the one time I had to make an urgent 911 call the response time was 6 minutes for the first responder, 8 for local volunteer fire department, 10 for ambulance services, and 14 for county officers.

That was the night I decided that the next opportunity I got, I needed a pistol for the house.

See, this wasn't a nuisance call... some kids crashed a Buick at well over 100mph right next to my house (flipped ~5-6 times and hit a crabapple tree 20' up before falling wheels-down 80' from the house) and my mother was out there (ex-LRN) trying to keep the driver's brains from falling out the hole in his skull while he was choking on his own blood. If that means 8 minutes before *anyone* shows up...

Now I live a bit closer to a lot larger police force, but I don't expect them to show up any faster. So I bought more pistols :)

July 29, 2005, 09:44 AM
Maybe the men you saw standing outside were DEA agents arguing about who should hold the Glock.

Seriously though, 22 minutes is unacceptable and I'd definitely file a written complaint.

July 29, 2005, 10:28 AM
Just to play devils advocate here it was 22 minutes before you saw the patrol car, right? Could the officer have parked up the street and observed or gotten out of his car to check things out? Nope, unless they have some new invisibility cloak that is LEO-only.

Third party report of a loud noise, possibly a gunshot. No reported injuries or damage. Officers are not going to rush to get there. Too many benign possibilities. Sorry guys. No story here. Let me guess... you're a cop?

In my county 20 minutes may account for the closest unit anyway. That doesn't apply here.

I think, or rather I hope, that it was just a manpower issue. GPPD has 209 sworn officers (101 non-sworn and 50 reserve, in addition.) Lucky for me, they could spare one to drive by the house.

July 29, 2005, 10:36 AM
"since we didn't have an occupancy permit yet."
Where do yo live that's so screwed up you need permission to have a residence?

July 29, 2005, 10:40 AM
Out of curiosity, other than driving by, what SHOULD the police have done?

July 29, 2005, 10:48 AM
How about investigating the issue reported? :banghead:

So should I have not called the police, or should I just not expect them to get their lazy butts out of the ACed car?

Steve in PA
July 29, 2005, 10:48 AM
If you don't like the "excuses" given, then call the PD and get your own answer :banghead: because all your going to do is find fault in whatever answer is given to you here. :rolleyes:

July 29, 2005, 10:50 AM
THR LEO's, please don't take offense to my comments. I don't do your job, and I certainly don't understand all the restrictions and hardships that you operate under.

I imagine that response time varies widely with location. In a small city (~50000) in Arkansas, in one of the worst parts of town, I called 9-1-1 to report the neighbors threatening each other and threatening another person on the phone, all while the little girl that lived there (I think she was five or six) screamed bloody murder and beat on the walls. The walls in that place were so thin we could see the lights of the next apartment through them, so I can hear most everything, but I can't see if they're smacking each other or the girl around. Nobody showed up, even though I gave them my name and address. I had other times when I tried to get response from LE there, no luck. I have absolutely no confidence in LE back there.

In the small communities in North Carolina I lived in, LE seemed to respond quicker. I only had to call them twice. One was on a peeping tom at my neighbor's house. I basically scared the guy off, and then had the neighbor call 9-1-1, they were there in five minutes. The other time was a car accident with no injuries. LE took almost 45 minutes to arrive, but it was understandable. At approximately the same time I was in my wreck, the local deputy sheriff had wrapped his car around a pole in a high speed chase and was killed about 10 miles away. My accident was rightfully a lower priority.

I've avoided LE in Ohio like the plague.

If I'm planning to be in one place for awhile and have inclination to get to know my neighbors, then I'll also make the effort to know LE and fire/rescue personnel on a first name basis. I've found that helpful if for no other reason than less hassles.

In all times that I've seen them respond, it's been to do 'janitorial' work. I do not expect them to protect me: they never have and they never will. The only time I've been in physical danger and could have used help, they showed up when I was on the emergency room operating table. Wanted to know if I wanted to press charges. This was before cell phones were commonplace, of course (1988?)

Jeez, I feel old. I forget how much crap I've been through until I listen to someone else with a similar story.


Father Knows Best
July 29, 2005, 11:21 AM
Police response depends on lot on where you live. I live in a small town (population 10,000) that doesn't have its own police force. We rely on the County Sheriff Department. I'm sure they're plenty busy, though, because there is one major city (Memphis) and several small cities (Germantown, Collierville, Arlington, etc.) in the same County.

One time I called them to complain about a scam artist going door-to-door on a Saturday afternoon. I'd seen this particular scam before, and knew that anyone going dtd in our town needed a permit from City Hall. I asked to see the permit, and the individual feigned surprise that he would need such a thing. I told him to get lost, and called the Sheriff Department non-emergency number. I reported the incident and gave a description of the individual, his companion and the truck they were driving. I didn't actually expect anyone to do anything about it.

Less than 15 minutes later, there were two cruisers in my driveway and two deputies on my doorstep. Another deputy had already located and stopped the perps, and was "detaining" them. These deputies wanted to make sure I hadn't been threatened by the perps. I told them I hadn't, and they said they would run them off with instructions not to show their faces in the County again.

My wife has called in the occasional noise complaint over the years, both in our current home and in our former residence (town of 40,000 with a local PD). In every instance, we had a quick response, and officers came to the house personally to make sure we were o.k. and satisfied.

I don't get the idea that people who live in large cities have similar experiences. I suspect it's a matter of the police in large cities having far more serious issues to deal with, even if the ratio of officers to residents is the same. When you're patrolling the domestic equivalent of Fallujah, you've got more important things to do than check out minor noise complaints. I'm sure they could add enough officers to respond to every little complaint in under 5 minutes, but the cost would be so enormous that no one would pay the necessary taxes.

The solutions are clear to me. First, be ready, willing and able to protect yourself. Second, move the heck out of the big cities.

July 29, 2005, 12:17 PM
of police response times are interesting but of no real use.

Even the best response time posted, 5 minutes for the naked lady call I think, is far too long to let someone beat on you with a claw hammer. Oleg has an excellent picture on his site illustrating this. It is of a big guy coming straight at the camera with an upraised hammer. Can anyone say T-drill, 21 feet with an impact weapon?

I use that situation all the time when trying to explain why I like keeping a firearm handy. I ask the person to give me their estimate of the best response time the police could have to their house. I then ask them if they would be willing to let someone beat them on the head with a hammer for that period of time. This is made more instructive if you have a hammer and some inanimate object to beat on for the time period named.

Police response time stories are interesting but the reality of the situation is they are never going to be able to respond fast enough to stop an immediate threat to your life.


July 29, 2005, 12:28 PM
"One shot is backfire, two is gunfire."

R.H. Lee
July 29, 2005, 12:36 PM
You cannot depend on 911. Slow response times are a bargaining chip for departments pandering for more money.

July 29, 2005, 01:04 PM
"One shot is backfire, two is gunfire."

You never drove the Ford Ranger I did just out of High School....

July 29, 2005, 01:35 PM
Gotta ask-
"since we didn't have an occupancy permit yet."
Where do yo live that's so screwed up you need permission to have a residence?

Well, at that point it was a lot closer to a construction site than to a residence. Total gut rehab (down to floors and bare studs) of a condemned building. New wiring, new plumbing, new roof, new everything. Roof was done first, then the rest of the tearout was completed, then panel and plumbing stack went in. Plumbing to third floor was first, then actual Romex wiring, and after a secure place to "live" was there, the second, first, and finally the basement were completed.

The city wants to do inspections to ensure livable conditions before you actually "live" in the building. On the plus side, they're generally so happy that someone's rehabbing 'em that they tend to be pretty lax about it.

July 29, 2005, 01:50 PM
I'm not an LEO and I don't want to seem like I'm jumping on you but think it through.

Realistically, what is the cop gonna do even if he got there ONE minute after you called? The probable shooters had already gone inside. Should he have knocked on your neighbor's door and said, "Someone heard a gunshot, can I swipe your hands for gunpowder residue?"

If the shooter isn't still standing there, gun in hand, it'd be a nightmare to prove a crime was even committed. I suppose he could arrest or even just warn the guy on your word only, which would do wonders for your neighborhood relations. (and probably expose your new house to risk)

I say again, What would you have them do based on your report even if they came by one minute later.

July 29, 2005, 02:06 PM
I can understand your frustration from your point of view on this. Like others have said, you can't depend on law enforcement in the initial throws of an incident to help you since they can only react on reports of incidents and there is a lag.

However like others said here too, you can't be sure it took then 22 minutes, since you are basing your opinion on what you saw from your angle. Perhaps the officer had been around with the car windows down observing and listening (which they often do).

You can always call them back and ask what's going on and why they haven't gotten back to you. I have done this once in the past and the operator (calling on the non-emergancy dispatch #) gave me play-by-play. Just because you don't see them doesn't mean they aren't doing anything...

July 29, 2005, 02:20 PM
When I call I be sure to inform them that its a no rush call if it is, and offer to set up a time for an officer to come by the house. They are pretty good about it. 911 calls in the area are pretty fast. I've never went to call that has taken more then the 2 minutes to get out of the station, and the sub 5 minute travel time in the city. Then again I always claimed Wisconsin has some damn high law enforcement standards, so we get really good cops.

July 29, 2005, 02:42 PM
Sometimes I wish my town was more like yours. There are so many cops here it's ridiculous, and most of them are real ********, they'll pull you over for anything.

July 29, 2005, 03:03 PM
Someone hypothesized that it was a ND. Probably correct, but in most jurisdictions a misdemeanor at best (as long as there are no injuries or damage). I don't believe there was a crime committed from the information given. The only thing the officers could do is drive through and look for a crime occurring. Police investigate crimes mostly after they have been committed. It's rare for one to occur in front of them. That's why I'm all for people being able to protect themselves.

Often times we speak of freedom and the coming police state. It's little things like this that will bring it in so much sooner. If the officers had come in with sirens blasting and blue lights flashing and banged on the door of the possible offenders and demanded to get into their vehicle to see if they had a firearm.......etc, etc, etc. The out cry would have been Police state....4th Amendment violations.....etc, etc, etc. It's tough to decide. Do we want to be secure or free...........hmmmmmmmm. Remember, no one saw a firearm, or reported damage or injuries. Just heard what may have been a gunshot.

In Alabama, an officer can only make an arrest for a misdemeanor crime if he sees it happen. Otherwise the offended party must swear a complaint for a warrant. The only exception is for Domestic Violencce where an officer can arrest based on Probable cause. Felony arrest can be made on probable cause at any time, but a warrant in hand is still better. These restrictions make an officers work much more difficult, but when it comes to depriving someone of their freedom it's worth the extra time and work.


July 29, 2005, 03:31 PM
Hey Deputy, where in North AL are you? I live in Madison and work in Huntsville.

EDIT: Ah, you're in Morgan County, Decatur, cool!

July 29, 2005, 05:14 PM
Do police depts, sheriffs, et al. conduct tests of 911 response times, or do they just figger there are enough real ones for OTJ training?

July 29, 2005, 05:58 PM
GPPD's website lists the stats for 2004, and claim an average reponse time of under 6 minutes.

July 29, 2005, 06:02 PM
New years eve 1995:
"911 what is your emergency?.
"My dumb @$$ neighbor is standing out in his front yard firing a handgun into the air. I'll identify him and i'll testify in court".

I'm still waiting for a patrol car to show up.

Standing Wolf
July 29, 2005, 10:21 PM
22 minutes later, a police cruiser drove by.

I'd be inclined to chew on my city council representative's ear long and hard, and make it abundantly clear the council better encourage the mayor to speak with the police chief, or I'll vote against the council representative next time around.

Your local representatives are a lot more afraid of you than your misrepresentatives in Washington, D.C.

July 30, 2005, 12:19 AM
I must be lucky. I live in a town of about 3k, and just after the 4th of July, when everyone on my block was setting off fireworks, someone decided to pop 8 rounds into the air a block or two away.

I called the non-emergency line, gave the information, where I was, the direction of the shots, how many, and that I was sure they weren't fireworks (very different sound).

Less than 5 minutes later, I get a call on my cell phone from the responding officer, letting me know that he is on scene, where I told him I heard the shots, thanking me for calling, and that they hadn't found any brass yet. And to not hesitate at all to call if I needed them again.

The PD here doesn't screw around, I promise you that. Brand new development, decent priced homes, semi-rural area, and the cops drive by our neighborhood at least once every morning, and a couple times during the day. They wave, smile, and talk to the neighbors, and get to know us.

A few years ago, living in a city of about 75K, I called the cops when we heard a noise downstairs. Within a few minutes, several officers showed up, covering both the front, and back. With the officers was a K9 officer as well. :what: After officers cleared the downstairs, I escorted one upstairs, and he was more than respectful of our privacy, made some positive comments on my firearms :D . Turned out to be nothing though.

Even though the officers in both those circumstances were quick, professional, and thorough, I still feel better knowing that I can defend my family.

Having the German Shepherd Dog helps there too.


July 30, 2005, 03:22 AM
How about investigating the issue reported?

OK, how should one go about investigating a report of someone hearing a gunshot? Imagine the conversations that will follow.

First he talks to you

"didja hear a gunshot"
"didja see anything"
"i saw two guys actin' funny over there, but i didnt see anyone shooting"
"did you see a gun?"

Then the officer knocks on those two guys' door (according to some posters on this forum this is a civil rights violation).

"didja all hear a gunshot"
"your nosey neighbor said it was you"
"it wasnt"

Seriously, if there was a gunshot in my neighborhood and the cops started knocking on MY door in the middle of the night because one of my neighbors saw me and a buddy drinking a bear on m porch i would not be a happy camper. You didnt give the police enough information for them to investigate anything, its not your fault, its also not theirs.

July 30, 2005, 06:13 AM
Since dispatchers/911 operators are the middle men, don't assume that your call went out to the officers as "shots fired."

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