Public safety reaches departmental goals per audit report

mhankerson@newsobserver.comDecember 2, 2013 

— Public safety response times and clerical responsibilities are on par with the town’s departmental goals, town leaders said following an annual financial audit that included information about the public safety department’s operations.

According to fire chief Tim Guffey and police chief Jason Godwin, the results are in line with each department’s goals.

In the fire division of Knightdale’s Public Safety department, the audit reported response times had slowed by 10 seconds, from 4 minutes and 28 seconds to 4 minutes and 38 seconds.

Guffey said he doesn’t consider the increase significant and guesses the time will continue to increase as the department responds to more calls on the western side of Knightdale.

“We are responding toward the west side of town more frequently than we did 10 years ago,” he said. The audit, which reports 10 years worth of data, shows the response time was at 4 minutes and 37 seconds in 2004.

In 2005, the response time peaked at 4 minutes and 44 seconds. The fire division has a goal to respond to all calls within 5 minutes.

To help keep the current response time under 5 minutes, the town is working on getting an opticom installed at the intersection of Knightdale Boulevard and Widewaters Parkway.

Opticoms are the tools emergency vehicles can use to change a traffic signal before approaching an intersection. The town already uses an opticom at the intersection at Smithfield Road and Knightdale Boulevard. The tool will only work when a truck’s lights and sirens are on.

In the police division, Knightdale’s audit showed response times and other reporting statistics were consistent with previous years. The audit looked at the timing and accuracy of report filings and how quickly investigations are solved.

The audit shows Knightdale police have a 53 percent investigation clearance, which measures how many investigations are solved, not just closed.

“We’re still very blessed here in Knightdale to have a pretty low call volume,” Godwin said. “Every report is currently investigated. The way we prioritize is through that solvability factor.”

Godwin said being able to describe a suspect or having evidence that can be tracked – like an item that has been stolen – improves a case’s chance for being solved. Police focus on solving cases, not closing them with no resolution.

“We’re not in a hurry to close something just to meet a statistic,” Godwin said.

In Knightdale’s Investigative Division, they currently have a 74 percent clearance rate. Godwin said their goal is 60 percent.

The audit reported 96 percent of reports are submitted on time and accurately, and that 94 percent of police investigations are closed within 30 days.

Hankerson: 919-829-4826; Twitter: @easternwakenews

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