Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore City Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts and Councilman Brandon M. Scott on April 29 announced that Baltimore would join other cities around the country in the implementation of a new police report filing system, Coplogic.
Coplogic is a citizen’s online police reporting system which will allow residents to file non-emergency incidents such as a broken flower pot, vandalized car, theft or illegal dumping, said Baltimore City Spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi.
Reports filed through the online system must meet several requirements: they must not be an emergency, the incident must occur within Baltimore City limits, there must be no known suspect and the incident must not occur on a state freeway. All other incidents must still be reported using the 9-1-1- emergency call system to request an officer.
“If you make a mistake and leave an iPad in your car and your window gets busted, you don’t want to be victimized again,” said Scott. “But with the old system, you have to 9-1-1 and are late to work or miss work waiting for an officer because it is a low priority call.”
After filing the complaint, the individual will receive an e-mail with a temporary report number and report. Within four to five days, after district detectives have had an opportunity to investigate the incident, the filer will receive another e-mail with their permanent report.
Scott introduced legislation for the new system in February 2012 to the Baltimore City Council. He said Coplogic will help to improve transparency and efficiency in the city government by providing a more effective use of taxpayers’ money, which is ideal with the “current economic state of the city.” The program will allow cops to attend to more high priority incidents and as residents use the system it will calculate how much money is being saved each year, said Scott.
While the police department has not determined how much money it will save per year, Scott said the system has helped save Charlotte, N.C. more than $300,000 last year and more than 8,000 man-hours.
The online citizens reporting system is the first step in revolutionizing the Baltimore Police Department into a more modernized tech-based system.
“Baltimore is still using an antiquated reporting system because we are still using paper,” said Guglielmi. “It is hard to generate police reports when you have over 1 million calls per year. It makes it hard to do all those reports by hand.”
Guglielmi said the next step for the police department is moving to a completely online police reporting system.