The question of police response time recently came into question after a driver hit a woman and her dog in the crosswalk at the intersection of Cedar Springs and Throckmorton, paused and then gunned his engine to escape rather than stop and render aid.
Det. Laura Martin said police respond to 911 calls in order of priority. The first priority, she said, are violent crimes in progress. Next are crimes in progress when no violence is involved, usually property crimes.
Police only initiate reports from a “complainant.” That person is the victim of a crime, unless that person is unable to make a police report. Somebody hospitalized and unconscious would be an example of a complainant unable to make a police report. In that case, police will interview witnesses to write a report or report from any available evidence.
The delay in police responding to the hit-and-run was communication, Martin said. While witness Josh Friedman was at Zephyr and would have been able to report the incident, police could only take a report from accident victim Holly Mosley. Friedman, who made the initial 911 call, told the 911 operator Mosley was at the vet with her dog and then needed medical attention herself.
Mosley made a 911 call from the vet, but police, working off the original call, were unsure if she’d still be there or, if she was done there, where she’d be seeking medical attention, so no officer was sent at that time. Martin called that a communication problem without blaming either side.
Martin said if someone wants to report a crime that is not in progress, the complainant should tell the 911 operator their exact location. She advised anyone who needs medical attention, to get that medical treatment first. A police report can be filed later.
Martin made it clear that she was not criticizing Mosley or Friedman. Martin said the calls have been reviewed already to make sure the best service can be provided by 911 operators. Martin thanked Friedman for his concern about getting video of the incident to the police and said that was exactly the partnership between business and the police that will make Oak Lawn safer. In addition to Friedman’s video, police are reviewing video from the newly installed police camera on Throckmorton at Cedar Springs that should have caught a direct shot of the car.