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Police launch online reporting system

MEDFORD — 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 city of Medford's Web site to file their complaint.

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

"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."

More and more police departments across the nation have established online reporting systems to enhance patron service and cut down on labor.

"More folks expect to be able to do things over the Internet right away," said Randy Burkhammer, vice president of San Ramon, Calif.-based Coplogic, maker of Medford's crime reporting software. "I think that's what's driving the growth as well as many law enforcement agencies are re-evaluating how to use their time."

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.

In Fresno, Calif., about a quarter of incidents are reported online, according to Coplogic's Web site.

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

Complainants who know of a suspect involved in the crime they wish to report are asked to call the department's nonemergency line at 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.

Patrons may report an incident by visiting the city's Web site at www.ci.medford.or.us. Once they get to the police department page, they can click on "Internet Reporting System (Coplogic)" on the left-hand side. They can then select an incident to report, enter a name and address, and describe the incident that has occurred.

The report is sent to the department's in-box. Once the report is accepted by an officer, the complainant will receive an e-mail with a case number.

The officer decides whether to send someone to investigate.

Reach reporter Paris Achen at 541-776-4459 or pachen@mailtribune.com.