St. Paul police adopt policy changing how emergency calls are prioritized

The St. Paul Police Department is adopting a new policy that will change how authorities prioritize calls for service, sources confirmed to FOX 9 Monday.

According to officials, emergency dispatch will no longer send officers to take reports on a number of different types of low level incidents. Instead, they'll direct the person to their online reporting system.

The move comes as St. Paul police and city leaders struggle to reduce a surge in violent crimes across the city.

Most of the people we talked with in St. Paul agree it's a better way of streamlining calls for service and responding to the most pressing incidents like gun violence, armed robberies and assaults.

"They have better things to do than a broken-into-car to deal with. By all means, send someone else, go online…that seems easy enough," one resident said.

“If there are crazier things happening where he needs your attention...why not have him ready to go versus not ready to go," another resident added.

The department's goal is to increase the online reporting, officer availability for emergency calls, and increase more community engagement.

The following nine incident types would be deferred to Teleserve, or online databases: criminal damage to property, illegal dumping, harassing phone calls, lost property, theft from auto (except stolen license plates), fraud, detached garage burglary, informational reports and theft (except guns and stolen cars).

"I think anything that increases efficiency for our police force is a good idea, and if that's a measure to do so and the police force is responsive, then I'm all for it," another St. Paul resident said.

Exceptions would be if the victim is in fear the suspect will return, if there is a significant language barrier, a disability involved, or some rare other circumstance.

Teleserve operations will now run 24/7 to better serve community members.

As of Monday, the department is also partnering with St. Paul public libraries to allow people who don't have internet access to file reports online.