Rochester Police admits wrongdoing after woman waits 90 min. for officers to respond

A Rochester woman said she was left waiting nearly 90 minutes for police to show up after she called 911 multiple times for help. (WHAM photo)

Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - A Rochester woman said she was left waiting more than an hour for police to show up after she called 911 multiple times for help.

The caller, who is six months pregnant and does not want to be identified, said on August 9, she called for police around 10:30 p.m. to help her with a domestic incident at her apartment. She said the dispatcher told her they would arrive as soon as possible.

But an hour later, no one had arrived to help her. She called again and said dispatchers told her they could not get officers to her any faster.

The Rochester Police Department later confirmed a shift change was the reason for the delayed response to her home.

“I feel that’s not right, because they are supposed to be the community's first responders to come to our rescue whenever we need help,” the woman said. "I was disgusted at the time, when I was waiting this whole time, thinking they were going to come in a rush - especially because I am pregnant, and they didn't come."

Rochester Police Deputy Chief LaRon Singletary was apologetic, saying he completely empathizes with the woman who called them.

"This was not a good day for us," Singletary said. "We looked at the situation and, based on the facts, it was determined it was our fault. We are not side-stepping it. We look at incidents like this to see what we can do better and that's what we will do."

Police said they have not made any arrests in this case. They said they receive over 400,000 calls a year for service with 250,000 of those calls being dispatch calls.

"If there are circumstances that sometimes would delay a response, supervisors have the authority to move personnel around when the circumstances arise," said Singletary.

The woman is hoping something like this doesn't happen to someone else. "That would have got ugly; something could have actually happened to me," she said.

The woman is doing okay. She wants to see police put more policies in place when it comes to responding to calls.

"The only thing I have to say is I hope that it gets better," she said.

In a statement sent to 13WHAM News, the department said Chief Michael Ciminelli is working with the Acting Director of the Emergency Communications Department to, "put forth directives to prevent this type of delay and response from occurring."

The call was broadcast by the Emergency Communications Department prior to shift change and was not answered by an officer working that shift. As a result of the call not being answered by an officer on the current shift that was working, the call held for an officer on the next shift, which resulted in the delay.
The response time by the RPD in this incident is not the norm during shift change or any other time during a given shift. The expectation is for RPD Patrol Supervisors to monitor activities such as radio traffic to ensure resources are adequately responding to calls for service when they are broadcast and adjust personnel resources accordingly. Department wide, supervisors will be reminded of the aforementioned expectation as it relates to monitoring calls for service and ensuring adequate service delivery. Specific to this incident, Department Command within the section of occurrence has addressed the situation with the personnel involved.
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