I've noticed more speeding police cars with wailing sirens parting traffic around the city. That's usually a rare sight, so I wondered if something was up. The Daily News asked and, sure enough, LAPD policy changed last week. Sirens and flashing lights are now the rule for all emergency calls, in order to lessen response time.
Previously, emergency calls were dispatched on a two-tier system: High-priority calls, designated as Code 3, required a light and siren; other emergency calls, labeled Code 2-high, did not get a light and siren and forced officers to obey all the traffic laws.
The LAPD has eliminated the Code 2-high designation and dispatchers are assigning most of those calls as Code 3. A smaller percentage of those Code 3-high calls are also being downgraded to Code 2, which is defined as "urgent."
The department proposed eliminating its Code 2-high designation in reaction to steadily increasing emergency response times, particularly in the San Fernando Valley with its sprawling patrol divisions. Valley Bureau response time went from 9.8 minutes in 2001 to 11.2 minutes last year.
Light sleepers, get used to it.