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LA City Council Calls For Better Fire Department Data

Ryan Faughnder |
March 13, 2012 | 2:52 p.m. PDT

Executive Editor

 

As has become clear in the past week, the Los Angeles Fire Department gave City Council data that suggested it responded to emergencies faster than it actually did. And now City Council, which used the inflated figures in its decision to make cuts to the department's funding last year, is not happy about it. 

(Photo by Rennette Stowe, via Creative Commons))
(Photo by Rennette Stowe, via Creative Commons))

"We need to get honest numbers," Councilman Dennis Zine said, according to the L.A. Times. "If they're not being honest and credible that creates a huge problem. Fudging numbers is not acceptable at all."

The stat juicing came to light after mayoral candidate Austin Beutner's Huffinton Post column was published, blasting councilmembers/political opponents Jan Perry and Eric Garcetti for slashing LAFD funding. He claimed the cuts resulted in lower response times:

From Beutner's post:

In 2008, Los Angeles was a leader in response time, with the LAFD arriving on the scene of a medical emergency within five minutes 86% of the time.

In 2011, after the cuts and Mr. Garcetti's promises, the LAFD arrived at a medical emergency within five minutes only 59% of the time. The big drop from 86% to 59% -- for every 100 incidents the LAFD responds to there are at least 27 victims who don't get the timely help they need.

Problem is, as the L.A. Times discovered when following up, the past figures were bogus. 

L.A. Fire Chief Brain Cummings said Tuesday that the department should have disclosed that it was changing its methods of measurement. "We should have done that," he said, according to the Times. 

 

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