The New Orleans Advocate has been honored with a national award by the Society of Professional Journalists for “NOPD: Call Waiting,” an investigative series produced together with WWL-TV that examined the New Orleans Police Department’s long response times to 911 calls.
The Sigma Delta Chi Award was announced Friday.
The news organizations won the award for Best Non-Deadline Reporting for newspapers nationwide with a circulation of less than 50,000.
The award recognizes the work on the project by Advocate reporters Jeff Adelson, Jim Mustian, John Simerman and Matt Sledge, as well as Managing Editor for Investigations Gordon Russell, and WWL-TV investigative reporters David Hammer, Katie Moore and Mike Perlstein, as well as photographer/editor T.J. Pipitone.
The series, which was published in The New Orleans Advocate and broadcast on WWL from October through December, examined the skyrocketing growth of police response times in recent years as NOPD manpower dwindled.
By analyzing almost 3 million calls for police service, the joint analysis found that the time it took for an officer to arrive at the scene after a 911 call had tripled since 2010, leaving victims to wait an average of 79 minutes before help arrived.
In-depth reporting chronicled the frustration and anger caused when police are slow to respond to emergency calls where minutes count.
The reports demanded answers from city leaders, leading to public hearings and significant reform measures that continue to take shape today.