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Paul D. Cramm

More online options offered by police departments to report minor incidents


Police departments are giving the option of making reports online and this trend is increasing day by day with law enforcement agencies all around the country.

The starting of online reports is the answer to one of the biggest issues: where is the police officer when a person needs one.

Last week, Shawnee collaborated with a few Kansas City area departments in starting an online reporting service for selected minor crimes by which the citizens can easily report, typically in cases where a report is needed only for insurance claims. Shawnee Maj. Bill Hisle said that it’s a nod to the growing dependence on computers and hand-held devices that individuals use to communicate and carry on day-to-day business transactions. “It’s the direction we’re going,” he added.

According to the supporters of online reporting, it not only provides a convenient option for citizens to make a report, but it also lets police departments marshal limited resources and frees up police officers for their serious work. Whether an individual makes report in person or online, when once approved, it is considered official record just as if it had been filed in the traditional way.

Chief operating officer with Coplogic Inc., James Lee who started the first online reporting service almost 10 years ago in California, said that now more than 400 agencies in the United States and Canada have adopted the service. He said, “It’s growing. More are signing up every year”. According to him, Coplogic Company was founded by a police officer at a difficult time when departments were dealing with fewer budgets and attempting to find ways to do more with less. He told that departments using the Coplogic system today are logging 500,000 to 1 million online reports every year. The company claims that each report taken online helps in saving an average of fifty dollars and around ninety minutes of a police officer’s time because it takes, on average, one and a half hour for an officer to respond to and file a report for most minor crimes.

A few departments such as Kansas City and Kansas City, Kan., also offer a service that makes individuals able to file reports on the telephone for the same types of minor offenses now handled in some places online. Lee said that the Kansas City Police Department has been discussing with Lee’s company about starting the service there. Kansas City police Maj. Greg Volker said it’s a great program and service. The department hopes to implement soon but he didn’t give any date. Volker said, “We’re actively looking into it. It’s going to happen”.

Kansas City area departments that have already started online reporting service said it’s very helpful and also famous among the citizens, who otherwise would have to take the time to go to a police station or wait for a police officer to come to their location.

Gary Mason, Overland Park Police Officer said that many individuals taking benefits of the service just require a report for insurance purposes for things such as property damage or stolen property. According to Mason, online reports that were submitted during 2011 and 2102 in Overland Park were above than 800. Most reports were approved but a few were rejected due to some reasons. In some cases, individuals hand over information to the police which is not enough for the investigation or to report something that didn’t happen in Overland Park.

It is the 2nd year of Olathe of accepting online reports from the citizens. In 2012, the number of reports processed there was more than 300. Sgt. Bryan Hill told that in 2013, till now 170 reports have been processed. He said the service has proved helpful in many cases involving victims of identity theft who were in the military serving overseas. Without the online option of making reports, the victims would have been unable to report the offenses.

Shawnee’s service was started online on 21st of August and Hisle said it received about 12 submissions in its first week. Hisle emphasized that online reporting is being offered as an option and is not required for minor incident reporting. He said, “Anyone can still ask to speak to an officer if they prefer. If it’s an ongoing situation or an emergency, then they should call 911”.

News Source: www.KansasCity.com

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About the Author

This practice has been exclusively devoted to all levels of criminal defense from misdemeanor offenses in municipal court to felony matters in the Federal courts of Kansas and the Western District of Missouri. Paul D. Cramm is qualified to provide defense in Capital and Death Penalty cases.

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