When seconds count the police are often minutes away. Unless you’re Jamie from Dallas. In that case, they’ll be at your house in one hour and 27 minutes.
Two burglars broke into Jamie’s home last week and forced him, at gunpoint, to lie on his stomach while they ransacked his possessions, according to WFAA Dallas.
“He pointed the gun at me and he said, ‘Don’t you say a thing. Don’t you dare move,’” said the M Streets homeowner. “He had the gun to my head and he made me turn over on my stomach.”
Jamie is so terrified the gunmen will return to his house that he’s asked the local media to conceal his identity.
“I still feel the gun on the back of my head,” he recalled. “He kept saying, ‘Where is the safe?’ and I would say, ‘I don’t have the safe’ and he would press [the gun] into my head.”
Once the men left, Jamie ran next door to his neighbor’s house and called the police.
“I was at her house for I think at least 20 minutes, maybe more than 20 minutes, and they still had not shown up,” he said.
Jamie kept calling 911, but he was told no one was available.
“They would say, ‘Well, are they still in the house?’ I said, ‘No but the guy put a gun to my head. What if he’s still around here somewhere?’ Every time we were told, ‘Well, we don’t have anyone to send out. We’re shorthanded.’”
The dispatchers aren’t kidding. More than 260 Dallas police officers have left the department since October, and their absence has often left residents like Jamie stranded without assistance.
Dallas PD has been able to respond to Priority 1 calls—things like murders and burglaries in progress—within about 8 minutes.
But Priority 2 calls like Jamie’s are being answered in about 22 minutes, and in some cases the wait is even longer.
“In many instances, Priority 2 calls can be held for 30 minutes or up to three or four hours,” Officer Nick Novello, a central patrol officer, told WFAA. “If we were at the precipice, we are in free fall right now.”
The Dallas PD are in a unique and troubling situation, and the officers still in the department are no doubt working as hard as they can to care for their residents.
But Jamie’s experience underlines the importance of the Second Amendment right to self-defense with a firearm. A lot can happen in eight minutes. Even more can happen in half an hour, and the best police departments can’t always arrive in time to prevent injury or death.
Hopefully city officials can make the necessary changes to improve the situation in Dallas. But even if they do, residents like Jamie would do well to make themselves and their families safe without having to rely on law enforcement.