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Selectmen reject purchase of CopLogic software

Date: 1/10/2011

Jan. 10, 2011

By Chris Maza

Reminder Assistant Editor

WILBRAHAM — At a recent meeting, the Board of Selectmen denied a request from the Police Department to purchase CopLogic, an online program for reporting crimes.

CopLogic allows citizens to report non-life threatening crimes, such as vehicle break-ins, vandalism and traffic complaints, via the Internet, allowing officers to be available to respond to more serious calls, should they occur.

"Freeing up officers' time was the goal," Police Chief Allen Stratton said of the proposal. "But the board thought the number of reports we take at this time did not warrant this kind of system."

Also, the program offers citizens an opportunity to file a report at any time, as opposed to waiting for the police station to open, and to take their time in filing a report, which can increase their accuracy.

"The ability to report online would have given citizens 24-hour access and would have been more convenient for those wishing to file reports," Stratton said. "Not only could citizens report a crime, but we could also receive tips on suspicious behavior."

With CopLogic, once a report is filed, it is sent electronically to the police department where an officer reviews the information. If everything is entered correctly and the data appears to be in order, the officer accepts the report and responds to the complainant with a case number.

Any serial numbers of stolen items are included in the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Crime Information Center database, so recovered items may be cross-referenced with a comprehensive nationwide list.

Stratton told the Selectmen at a Nov. 22 meeting that a grant from the Department of Homeland Security would cover the initial costs of the program, but the town would be responsible for the remaining costs of the system.

According to minutes from the Dec. 13 meeting, Selectman Robert Boilard expressed concern that the amount of use by the community would not justify the initial investment and the cost of keeping up such a system.

When contacted for additional comment, Boilard declined, except to say, "The proposal was rejected for many reasons based on research that was provided to us and research that we did ourselves."

Stratton said the department will continue to gather data regarding the effectiveness of the CopLogic system.

"We'll see what happens," Stratton said. "There are several departments in Western Massachusetts that use it — Northampton uses it, Amherst uses it — and several departments in the Springfield area that plan to start using it.

"We'll watch and evaluate and bring it back to the board and prove that this is a system that can work for the town of Wilbraham."

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