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County to offer online police reporting
PORT ORCHARD — The Port Orchard Police Department will be the first local agency to try out a new online police report system that will be purchased soon by Kitsap County Central Communications.
CenCom director Richard Kirton said the Kitsap County Commissioners approved the purchase last month of six licenses from the contractor Cop logic, which will allow all four cities’ law enforcement agencies, along with the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office and the Suquamish Tribal Police, to offer certain police reports to be filed via the Internet.
“All of the cities and the county were very supportive of moving forward with this project,” Kirton said. “But the Sheriff’s Office and (POPD) Chief Al Townsend were particularly interested in it.”
Kirton said the licenses will cost a total of $104,000, which range from $22,000 for the sheriff’s office to $13,500 for the Suquamish tribe.
“Right now, we are in the development stage, and will try a short pilot project later this year with the (POPD),” he said, explaining that during the pilot phase the dispatcher will be referring certain calls to a Web site where the caller can file the report.
Once the program is up and running, Kirton said ideally it will allow county residents to file reports for incidents that do not require an officer’s presence — at least not immediately — such as for lost property, vandalism or minor theft.
“Each jurisdiction will have to define for themselves which reports (can be done online),” he said.
Having such a program will benefit both the citizens and officers, Kirton said, because people can file a report from their homes at their convenience, rather than having to call and wait for an officer to become available.
For the officers, having certain reports filed online will keep them available to not only respond to emergency calls, but to do more “proactive policing,” he said.
Lastly, Kirton said CenCom dispatchers would eventually have less non-emergent calls to field, as well.
He said it made sense to buy the program as a package across the county not only to save money, but because the jurisdiction lines separating all the agencies can be confusing.
“This way, if someone just outside the Poulsbo city limits tries to file a report with the Poulsbo Police Department, the program will recognize their address as in the county and send the report to the Sheriff’s Office,” he said, explaining that if all the agencies had their own system, the report would be rejected and the citizen would have to figure out the correct agencies and try again.
Eventually, the program may also be expanded to include “non-law enforcement issues” such as request for stop signs or reporting potholes. “That would work for the cities, since the county already has a system for that,” he said.