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Rises and falls in Key emergency calls

After crunching the numbers for 2016, police and fire departments provide Town Commission with a public safety update.

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  • | 6:00 a.m. February 8, 2017
  • Longboat Key
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Despite an unexplained rise in fire and emergency service calls on Longboat Key in 2016, calls for police dropped more than 12%.

At a Town Commission meeting on Monday evening, Deputy Police Chief Frank Rubino said the total number of calls the Longboat Key Police Department received decreased from 5,672 in 2015 to 5,013 in 2016. The department attributes this decrease to license plate readers that have been installed in police vehicles, Rubino said.

Because of the readers, responsibilities that were previously assigned to dispatchers now rest with the officers.

“Dispatch actually would send out a lot more calls than we’re having right now,” Rubino said.

Officers have the ability to determine potential serious crime suspects while using their judgment in making stops for lesser crimes, like expired tags.

“It’s not just, ‘It hit, so I’m going to stop that car,’” Rubino said.

Fire Rescue Chief Paul Dezzi explained that fire and emergency services received 1,604 calls, a nearly 12% increase from 2015.

The top call for emergency services was for falls, while calls for boating mishaps, gas leaks and public assistance increased.

Calls for actual fires, like trash and cooking fires, also increased, but Dezzi said the rise is not enough to indicate a fire prevention problem.

Though calls increased, response times in 2016 were faster than department goals, Dezzi said. He also noted Longboat Key’s high survival rate of 30% for cardiac arrest incidents.

“The national average of cardiac survival is 10%,” Dezzi said.


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