NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Nashville residents are waiting longer for the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) to respond to their calls than in years past.
According to data presented to Metro Community Oversight Board Wednesday night, there was a 66% increase in MNPD response times on average from 2019 to 2022, and while response times were up across the country, Nashville’s were some of the longest.
“You have to have officers in the cars to answer the calls,” said former MNPD officer and board member Mark Wynn.
While the average response time last year was 73 minutes, 16 minutes longer than the year before. Nashville resident Andrew Bodsford said he has waited longer.
Bodsford said that when he had a visitor in town a few months ago, their car was broken into and some items were stolen. Thankfully, some of the items stolen were trackable and Bodsford was able to find the apartment where they were, but when he asked police to help get the items, he said they never showed up.
“We waited for probably two hours and finally decided to call back to make sure they are on their way. And they said, ‘yeah we are trying to free up an officer or something,’ so we waited another hour or hour and a half and no one showed up so we left,” Bodsford recalled.
According to Community Oversight Board data, from 2020 to 2022 MNPD response times on theft calls increased by 66.5 minutes. In addition, home burglary response times slowed down by 36 minutes in the same time period.
“It’s one of those where we are going to the call that needs the most at that time, that’s most serious,” said Cmdr. Carlos Lara with the MNPD Office of Community Outreach and Partnerships.
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While calls deemed to be more urgent are responded to faster than others, officers are still responding to them slower than they did in previous years. In particular, response times to domestic disturbance calls, fight, and shooting calls were all up.
The problem is impacting neighborhoods from east to west Davidson county with some residents going to their neighborhood Facebook groups to share stories.
“Our home alarm went off a few months ago, and they did not show up for 3 hours,” wrote one person.
To which someone responded, “I’m surprised they came the same day. It’s really gotten bad.”
Members of the oversight board said Nashville’s rapid growth and officer shortages aren’t helping with response times, but it’s a multi-pronged problem.
“Traffic conditions, including volume and construction, can impact response times, as can specific incidents occurring within a particular precinct,” said a spokesperson for MNPD in a statement. “Surges in call volume also impact response times.”
However, the spokesperson also noted they have made efforts to reduce wait times. For example, now they allow people to make police reports over the phone rather than having an officer respond and drivers can now self-report incidents and property damage.