How We Prioritize Calls
We use a simple and effective method for prioritizing calls. Anything in progress is top priority. A home burglary in progress is dispatched before a home burglary that occurred last night. Anything that is life-threatening also takes top priority. A fight with weapons (anything wielded against another person is considered a weapon) is dispatched before a verbal dispute. Anything that involves children under 12 takes very high priority. A lost child call is taken immediately, whereas a missing adult may be referred to the person's city police department (if out of our jurisdiction).
Calls endangering property are dispatched as soon as possible if units are available, with the exception of fires and bomb threats which are dispatched immediately. Vandalism and burglary calls may be delayed until officers are available. Also, calls about persons who are injured some time prior will be responded to when units are available. This is unfortunate because, for example, we frequently receive calls from rape victims where the rape occurred weeks or months before, so immediate response will not help the victim.
We receive so many calls each day for a wide variety of calls, many of which are not top priority, that often the lower priority calls must be held for some time until officers or deputies are available. We try to minimize the waiting time, but during very busy days, it is difficult to respond to every family fight, business alarm call, and other calls within a short period of time. Also, frequently an officer may be en route to take your report on a burglary that occurred last week, when he's suddenly preempted to respond to an assault and battery call. Anything in progress that is life-threatening will take priority over a normal dispatched call, even if the officer is already en route. We cannot actually tell you why he was preempted, but please understand that it is always for a very good reason.