Sheriff offers online crime reporting system
St. Croix County residents now have a means to report minor crimes online.
Sheriff John Shilts said the department's new web reporting system uses Coplogic Inc. software as an alternative to filing a police report in person.
The system improves the use of staff time and ensures all stolen property is accurately reported and tracked, according to the sheriff.
It went into effect Thursday, April 19.
"With economic cuts everywhere, we were looking for a way to allow more time for officers to be out on patrol instead of tied up with reports," said Shilts. "Coplogic offers a solution that has a lot of merit for busy agencies that deal with time consuming 'delayed' and 'no known suspect' type reports."
Citizens can access the system by logging on to the St. Croix County Sheriff's Office home page (www.saint-croix.wi.us/departments/sheriff) and clicking on Citizen Online Reporting System and follow the prompts to complete a report.
He was quick to point out, however, that those who prefer the old method can always call the sheriff's department.
Shilts said his department conducted a two-year study to determine if the web program would be a good fit. "Over the two years, we average about 850 cases a year and the program would save the department $11,000 a year in mileage, officer time and clerk time," he said.
The sheriff said the $17,000 startup cost for the system was factored into the department's feasibility study. The yearly maintenance cost is $4,000.
The system reduces data entry for the sheriff's office, improves incident information accuracy and allows for faster investigations and reporting of minor incidents such as theft, accidental damage, harassing phone calls, lost property, mischief complaints, vandalism and more, said Shilts.
The sheriff said deputies have been instructed to check the website three times during their shift for pending reports. The deputy communicates with the person filing a report via e-mail. When the deputy approves the report, a notice and a victim's rights statement are e-mailed back.
"In addition to freeing up hours of deputy time from reporting, it also allows citizens more flexibility to report incidents at their leisure from their homes or offices," said Shilts.
Only incidents in which the sheriff's office is the primary responsible law enforcement agency will be accepted. If an incident occurs within the jurisdiction of a municipal police agency, that agency must be contacted.