Altus_The Altus Police Department is using a new tool to help fight crime while saving time for those reporting crimes as well as the officers. Citizens now can complete their own reports without waiting for an officer. The police department says it's program is modeled after others used in larger police departments.
The APD says that if you are a victim of a crime, you still should call to inform the department. However, depending on what you tell them, they'll determine if it is serious enough to bring to an officer, or if a form will do - it's called the Citizen's Crime Report.
Officer Mike Munn brought the idea to Altus after visiting with Tulsa and Jenks police officers. "I took their forms and brought them down here to fit our computer programs," he said. Information will be entered into a computer and digitally stored. Munn says the report will help police and citizens since no one will have to wait for an officer to complete it, and will have easier access to it. "We don't want to interrupt their day," he said.
Munn says the idea came to light after a Fraternal Order of Police meeting. "We started to talk about call volume," he said. "We brought it to the chief's attention, and he seemed to like it, and we decided to go with it." Officer Mike Bell says officers will spread the forms throughout town so, starting Saturday, it will be easy to find them. "You can get them at any local cell phone company, Wal-Mart, or any hotels in the area," he said.
Bell says the forms will be available at virtually any business such as quick-stops and gas stations. The online version at the City of Altus website allows the public to download and print the form. "We're trying to educate the public so they understand how this process works," said Bell. "We're trying to provide them with a better service because that's what we do - protect and serve."
The program kicked off on Thursday, and forms are available online now. Officers are carrying forms with them on patrol, and it already is online for downloading. Munn says the forms are part of a larger effort to streamline paperwork in the department. Munn's other goals include providing police cars provided to every officer - which has been met - and, to relocate to a new building.