Friday Fact Check: The "60-Minute" Myth

Setting the Record Straight on Police Response Times for the Brent Spence Bridge

The Build Our Bridge Now coalition has a long history of spreading misinformation regarding police response times to the Brent Spence Bridge. On November 13, they did it again:


“FACT: It takes more than 60 minutes for police to respond to an accident on the Brent Spence Bridge due to congestion, danger and a lack of emergency lanes. Our children deserve better!” [November 13, 2014 https://www.facebook.com/BuildOurNewBridgeNow]


In addition, the Build Our Bridge Now coalition has repeatedly made the claim that Covington Police respond to 650 calls for help on the Brent Spence Bridge annually. This information is listed on their website, has been repeated in press reports, and in materials written by members of the coalition:


“Covington police respond to an average of 650 accidents, disabled vehicles, and other vehicle-related issues on the bridge each year.” [http://blockedbythebridge.com/how-were-blocked/safety/]

“Did you know that the Covington police responds[sic] to 650 accidents, disabled vehicles, and other vehicle-related issues on the bridge each year. Our community deserves better!” [September 30, 2014 https://www.facebook.com/BuildOurNewBridgeNow ]

“Covington police respond to an average of 650 accidents, disabled vehicles, and other vehicle related issues on the Bridge each year. These incidents average a one hour response time due to the dangers and congestion on the Bridge.” [Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1031458/chamber-policy-position-brent-spence-final.pdf ]


This information is inaccurate based on the data available since 2012 when the coalition first formed.

Where did these “facts” come from?

The origin of the information is unclear. The Build Our Bridge Now coalition does not cite sources or link to the source of the information in any of its materials, on its website, or its social media account. Northern Kentucky United reached out to the City of Covington and the Covington Police Department in order to verify the accuracy of the information.

What does the data say?

According to the Covington Police Department’s Assistant Chief Lt. Col. Carter, the number of calls to the bridge and average response times are as follows.


2012: 510 responses to the bridge
         Average time held by dispatch before unit sent was 4 minutes 37 seconds
         Average response time was 3 minutes 44 seconds.
         Total response time was 8 minutes 21 seconds

2013: 475 responses to the bridge
         Average time held by dispatch before unit sent was 4 minutes 17 seconds
         Average response time was 5 minutes 13 seconds
         Total response time was 9 minutes 30 seconds

2014: 381 responses to the bridge
         Average time held by dispatch before unit sent was 3 minutes 22 seconds
         Average response time was 4 minutes 37 seconds
         Total response time was 7 minutes 59 seconds

Source: This information was obtained through a request on behalf of Northern Kentucky United by Covington City Commissioner Steve Frank.

The Covington Police Department has an outstanding response time for calls to the bridge, and based on the data provided respond to calls from the bridge in less than ten minutes. Additionally, Covington Police do not respond to 650 incidents each year. Based on the data received, calls for help from the bridge are decreasing over time.


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