November 28, 2011 in Idaho

Post Falls police to take crime reports via text

Associated Press
 

POST FALLS, Idaho (AP) — Crime fighting in Post Falls is going high-tech.

Dispatchers here are taking crime reports via text and email at crimes@pfpd.us. The messages display on a computer screen at the 911 center.

The system is not intended to replace 911 in case of an emergency, but officials say texting or emailing crime reports could be useful for the hearing impaired or if a person can’t speak for any reason during a crime.

“We are just looking for new ways to get information to solve and reduce crime,” Police Chief Scot Haug told the Coeur d’Alene Press.

Charlene Holbrook, emergency communication supervisor, said the hope is the system will get younger people involved in crime prevention.

“Texting allows them a method of communication with which most teens are comfortable,” Holbrook said. “Texting was the next logical step for us.”

The department already accepts anonymous tips through its website at www.postfallspolice.com.

After a text message is received, a dispatcher will gather further information from the reporting party and dispatch an officer, if needed. Officers also will be able to view the information from laptops in their patrol cars.

Photos also can be sent, Holbrook said.

Officials in Kootenai County say they will see how the text-a-crime effort works in Post Falls before considering it for their own departments.

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