Sheriff’s Department and response times

The newly appointed captain of the San Diego County Sheriff’s department, Encinitas branch, recently provided the city of Del Mar’s budget and finance committee with the average response times for the four major types of 911 calls. The response times as stated by the captain appear to be consistent with our neighboring cities, including Solana Beach.

Priority 1 calls, extreme emergency to life such as serious accidents, airplane crashes and SWAT actions, at approximately 12 minutes.

Priority 2 calls, serious felonies in process such as homicide, kidnapping, rape, armed robbery, and residential burglary, at approximately 9.5 minutes.

Priority 3 calls, such as potential risk of injury that is ongoing such as reckless driving, driving under the influence, hit and run property damage, at approximately 14 minutes.

Priority 4 calls, occurrences or recent events with less chance of injury or harm such as loud parties, prowler, vandalism, trespassing and burglar alarm, at approximately 42 minutes.

The independent consultant hired by the city of Del Mar to evaluate the current sheriff’s contract reported in late 2013, that the estimated average response using our own police department would be similar to the response times of our fire department at 5 minutes. The consultant also stated that the annual estimated cost of running our own department would be comparable with the current Sheriff’s department contract at $2 million annually.

Under this current five-year contract, the Sheriff’s department provides one deputy 24/7, one traffic officer for 40 hours per week, and one detective for 40 hours per week. Our consultants have estimated that with our own police department, we would need up to 19 full- and part-time employees.

The captain has admitted that the Sheriff’s department is unable to improve these response times significantly, based on the way deputies are assigned to patrol.

You be the judge.

Our community deserves better. Your opinion matters. Please contact your city council members at

Barry Entous, Del Mar