SEATTLE — The Seattle Police Department (SPD) began a new process Thursday to follow up with 911 callers and crime victims in the city. The process involves sending fully automated text messages and emails seeking feedback and aims to “improve services to the community."
The department said once the 911 emergency has passed, their system will send the automated follow-up messages to solicit feedback about the caller's experience with the SPD.
The SPD and Community Safety and Communications Center (CSCC) said they hope the changes will "increase communication, provide enhanced customer service, and help improve future 911 interactions between the public and first responders.”
Seattle police said the text messages and emails are legitimate and an effort to gather feedback from the community.
“They are not spam,” the SPD said in a press release. “It is the SPD’s hope that people will respond to the survey questions so improvements to the city of Seattle’s emergency response can be made.”
Seattle resident Kahlil Bryant said he will be answering the survey questions as a way to hold the police department accountable.
“People want police to be held accountable for good and for bad, for better or for worse," said Bryant. "I hate to use the word worse, but I think the public wants accountability so I think they would like it."
There has been mixed feedback from the public, with some saying this will hopefully give Seattle police an idea of where they can improve things, while others said those text messages and emails usually get lost in the process.
“If it’s not life or death, you may not hear back at all," said Shaurya Malik, who lives in Seattle. "I know of someone that had their car broken into and reported it, and they pretty much never heard back anything from the police."
Meanwhile, many are happy about how quickly the SPD has responded to their 911 calls in the past.
“We’ve unfortunately had people that have been dead on the street and we’ve had to call 911, or we have people that have overdosed and we’ve had to call 911, and the response is always quick," said resident Trina Ternes.
The department said the automated message system was developed by SPIDR Tech, a company “founded by law enforcement professionals to help agencies use their data to improve transparency and increase efficiency by seeking 911 caller feedback.”