Protecting Queen Creek

A Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office helicopter. (Arianna Grainey, Independent Newsmedia)

Of 302 Priority 1 or emergency calls in Queen Creek last year, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office deputies were on patrol nearby — “on view” — and responded immediately to 19 of them, according to MCSO records.

The on-view incidents were not dispatched by a 9-1-1 operator and had an average response time of one second.

The remaining 283 Priority 1 patrol calls for service that were dispatched were done so in an average 1:06 and had an average response time of 5 minutes.

Total events — the 302 — had an average dispatch time of 1:02 and average response time of 4:41, MCSO said.

The Queen Creek Fire and Medical Department last year responded to 3,930 calls for service, with an average travel time of one second longer — 4:42.

MCSO-District 6

District 6 MCSO officials work out of offices at 20727 E. Civic Parkway in Queen Creek. They are backed up by MCSO deputies in District 1, which covers an area of 502 square miles in the southeast quadrant of the county, including Apache Junction, Chandler, Gilbert, Guadalupe, Mesa, Tempe, south Scottsdale and Sun Lakes. District I is the busiest district in Maricopa County, according to MCSO’s 2017 annual report.

Personnel at the Queen Creek station are, according to MCSO records:

  • One captain
  • Two lieutenants
  • Eight sergeants
  • Two detectives
  • 24 deputies
  • Three civilian staff
  • One field training officer
  • Two people on modified duty

MCSO doesn’t have records for response-time goals or national standards for response times, an official said.

“MCSO Legal Liaison will not be responding to the following portions of this request, as MCSO would not have a record responsive to it.
The matter either falls under a federal agency purview (i.e., the national standards) or is subjective (i.e., what are the response-time goals),” Cody Baker, administrative staff supervisor for MCSO Administrative Services Division, said in an e-mail about the questions: “What are the response-time goals for MCSO for Queen Creek and how are they determined?” and “What are the national standards for response times and what organizations are used?”

In 2018, MCSO District 6, which provides contracted law-enforcement services for more than 46 square miles in the Town of Queen Creek, responded to more than 25,000 dispatched and on-view incidents.
A report for Jan. 1-Dec. 31 2018 shows dispatch and patrol along with assisting units and volunteer efforts.

Under dispatch, it states “It is essential to capture the dispatch effort to not only handle calls for service and ‘on view’ that require a law enforcement response but also those that are duplicate calls and subsequently canceled along with those where the call is canceled prior to dispatch. The figures below account for all calls regardless of final disposition.”

There were 11,402 calls for service dispatched and 14,315 on view by patrol officers in 2018, for a total of 25,717 events. Of those, 288 Priority 1 calls were dispatched and 20 were on view by patrol in 2018, for a total of 308 Priority 1 calls, according to MCSO.

There were 11,199 calls for service dispatched and 14,191 on view by patrol officers, for a total of 23,390. Of those, 281 Priority 1 calls were dispatched and 19 were on view by patrol in 2018, for a total of 303 Priority 1 calls.
Many of the calls for service required a secondary unit, according to MCSO records.

Assisting units were needed at 7,217 dispatched incidents and 1,148 on view patrol calls, for a total of 8,365. Of those, there were 802 Priority 1 calls dispatched and 47 were on view by patrol in 2018, for a total of 849 Priority 1 calls, records show.

Volunteers also assisted at incidents in Queen Creek. The number of calls for service and on view that posse (K units), reserve and retired deputies completed were 149 calls for service dispatched and 129 on-view incidents, for a total of 278. Of those, there were seven Priority 1 calls, all dispatched.

MCSO response times

A Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office deputy outside an area school. (Submitted photo)

Response times are measured by MCSO in several times, according to the records for 2018.

“First you have when a citizen-generated calls comes in until a deputy is dispatched to the location — average dispatch time. From there we have from the average time it takes the deputy to arrive at the call for service — average response time. Once the deputy arrives until they ave completed the call is titled the ‘average on scene time,’” the records state.

“To understand the overall call for service time from the point the citizen called in to the time the call was cleared, we have added the ‘average total time.” Call dispositions of ‘canceled incident prior to dispatch (no unit dispatched)’ and ‘duplicate and canceled’ are removed from the data,” it states.

The 283 Priority 1 calls for service that were dispatched were done so in an average 1:06 with an average response time of 5:00. Average time on-scene was 1:44:28 for an average total of 1:49:52.

The 19 Priority 1 on view incidents were not dispatched and had an average response time of one second. The average time on scene was 2:24:07 for an average total of 2:24:08.

Total events are shown as 302, with an average dispatch time of 1:02 and average response time of 4:41. Average on-scene time was 1:46:59 for an average total of 1:52:01, the records show.

Queen Creek Fire and Medical Department

The Queen Creek Fire and Medical Department covers areas of Maricopa and Pinal counties and has the following stations:

  • Fire Station No. 411, 20678 E. Civic Parkway.
  • Fire Station No. 412, 24787 S. Sossaman Road.
  • Fire Station No. 413, 19159 E. Queen Creek Road.
  • Interim Fire Station No. 415, 980 W. Combs Road.

Queen Creek Fire and Medical Department at a house fire. (QCFMD)

Fire administration offices are at 22358 S. Ellsworth Road, according to the Town of Queen Creek website, queencreek.org.

Fire Station 4 is in the design phase and is slated to open in mid-2020 on Signal Butte and Queen Creek roads. The town is in the process of identifying a location for a permanent Fire Station 5, according to the town’s website.

The Queen Creek Fire Department follows the guidelines from the National Fire Protection Association, Constance Halonen-Wilson, public information officer for the Town of Queen Creek, said.

“QCFMD has a five-station, build-out plan with strategic locations throughout the community. The five-station build-out was determined by many factors, including the NFPA best practice of a four-minute travel time,” she said.

“The National Fire Protection Association has a standard goal for fire departments to initiate a response to, and arrive at the scene of an emergency incident in four minutes or less. Queen Creek Fire and Medical strives to achieve this goal by viewing this standard as one of the ‘best practices’ within the industry,” Ms. Halonen-Wilson said.

The travel time goal is measured from the time a fire truck initiates a response when the wheels of the fire truck are rolling to the emergency incident and stops when the fire truck arrives at the emergency incident. Calls for service that do not require the use of lights and sirens are not factored into the average travel time reported, she said.

A variety of elements contribute to average response times including call volume and station location.

Response times include three elements, according to Ms. Halonen-Wilson:

  • Call processing: when the call is received by the dispatcher to when the call is dispatched.
  • Reaction time: when the call is received at the station to when the engine leaves the station.
  • Travel time.

QCFMD response times

In 2018 the average travel time for QCFMD was 4:42, Ms. Halonen-Wilson said.

The average response times by year for the last six years are:

  • 2017: 4:43
  • 2016: 4:49
  • 2015: 4:30
  • 2014: 4:31
  • 2013: 4:19
  • 2012: 4:39

The fire department in 2018 responded to 3,930 calls for service. They included:

  • 31 structure fires (cooking fires, chimney fires, etc.).
  • 76 non-structure fires (vehicle, brush, dumpster, etc.).
  • 2,586 emergency medical service/rescue.
  • 534 service calls (lock-out, snake, unauthorized burning, etc.).
  • 371 good intent (canceled en route, warming fire, smell of smoke, no incident found, etc.).
  • 233 false alarm (smoke detector, alarm system, etc.).
  • 91 hazardous condition, no fire (gas leak, electrical wiring, flammable liquid spill, etc.).
  • eight other (overpressure, flood assessment, etc.).

QCFMD personnel

The fire department has 63 employees, which include six administrative positions and 57 operations positions.

Administrative positions are:

  • One fire chief
  • Two deputy chiefs
  • One fire marshal
  • One management assistant
  • One senior administrative assistant

Operations positions work 48-hour shifts to ensure 24/7 emergency response. Operations positions are:

  • Three battalion chiefs (one per shift)
  • 12 captains
  • 12 engineers
  • 30 firefighters

“Of note, the fourth crew per shift was added in February 2019. During 2018, QCFMD operations included three shifts with three crews (45 total operations and six administrative),” Ms. Halonen-Wilson said.

Editor Richard Dyer can be contacted via e-mail at rdyer@newszap.com or at twitter.com/rhdyer or facebook.com/RichardDyerJournalist

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment