SALINAS, Calif. -

Whether it's an emergency or not, 911 should always be used if one feels it is necessary to use it. But some calls Salinas Police just won't be able to get to because of how limited staff is.

Barking dogs, vandalism, a street light out- these are just some calls for service the department won't come out to right away.

"On all three shifts, especially the day time and evening shift, we have officers almost nonstop all day, its really busy," said Salinas Police Cmdr. Henry Gomez.

Most of those calls are for in-progress crimes.

"If they are in progress we tend to make those high priorities," said Gomez. 

Gomez said the department is trying to help the public understand why police response times may be so long.

"Because there is no suspect there, or maybe sometimes people want to make a report for insurance purposes that they should expect a little bit of delay," said Gomez.

Hit-and-runs with no injuries and past burglaries are among those that go low on the totem pole.

"An emergency on someone's mind may not be one. For example, the suspect may be gone, or they don't know who the suspect is that broke into their car, things like that we have to go by what's on the waiting list as well," said Gomez.

Neighborhood watch programs we spoke to said because of this, they are pushing for more active members to be on the lookout. But the police department said that shouldn't mean taking matters into your own hands.

"When something is happening we rather prefer people not put themselves at risk," said Gomez.

There are reports that can be submitted online. Click here to learn more about filing a report online.