Posted: Jun 20, 2012 11:41 AM
Updated: Jun 20, 2012 3:37 PM
HARLINGEN - The Harlingen Police Department launched a new tool for people trying to file a police report quickly. People can now file certain police reports without even calling an officer. The city hopes the new tool will keep more patrol officers on the streets longer.
The online tool was launched 24 hours ago. It can be found under the Police Department tab on the city's website. (Link: http://www.myharlingen.us/users/0098/docs/coplogic/start-report.html)
You can file reports of identity theft, graffiti, and about a dozen other information reports.
"These reports are treated as if an officer went out to your location," explained David Osborne, who is heading the new program. "You submit the information. A detective supervisor then reviews the report. Then he will accept it into the case management system, and it gets assigned to a detective."
A case number will be sent to your email. Case numbers are often needed for a victim's insurance claim. The process frees up time for police officers to patrol.
"The benefit to the officer is they get to stay out in the field longer and actually do more patrol efforts," said Osborne.
He added some people like the online option, because they can discreetly file a report without alerting their neighbors. The online tool also lets people add information like serial numbers of stolen items to existing reports.
David Osborne of the Harlingen Police Department said, "It helps out the citizens and the officers... It gives the citizen the luxury of doing the report whenever they want... And if they don't want an officer to go to their house, then that's fine... They can do the report from the convenience of their homes, or they can speak to the desk sergeant up front and even use our kiosk in their front lobby."
For people without Internet access, there is a computer at the department which can be used to file a report online. The report requires the submitter's name and email address.
The reports are real. Anyone who files a false report can face Class B misdemeanor charges.