People involved in a minor traffic accident or victims of petty theft no longer have to wait for a police officer to show up and take a report.

People involved in a minor traffic accident or victims of petty theft no longer have to wait for a police officer to show up and take a report.

They can log onto the Web to file their complaint.

Like credit card bills and school report cards, reporting police incidents has gone electronic.

The Medford Police Department on Wednesday joined other police departments across the nation offering an online citizen police reporting option at its Web site, http://www.ci.medford.or.us/SectionIndex.asp?SectionID=7. It's also available via the Mail Tribune's crime page at http://www.mailtribune.com/emergency.

"It's just another opportunity for citizens to get in touch with the police department," said Administrative Lt. Randy Sparacino. "Nonemergency calls typically take up a lot of officers' time. This gives them more time to respond to emergency calls."

The Medford department receives an average of about 200 incident reports per day. Officials expect more than 8 percent of those could be reported online.

Only certain incidents may be reported online in Medford, including identity theft, harassing phone calls, minor thefts, noninjury hit and run accidents, theft from vehicles, traffic complaints and vandalism.

Complainants who know of a suspect involved in the crime they wish to report are asked to called the department's nonemergency line, 541-770-4783.

The Medford department paid about $20,000 for its online reporting system. It will cost an additional $3,500 annually to upgrade, maintain and service the software. The software ties into the existing records management system.

— Paris Achen
Complete details: Thursday's Mail Tribune