BANGOR, Maine — Bangor Police Chief Ron Gastia expects a new online reporting system for low-priority incidents to save his department much more than time.
“We believe the Coplogic system will save us in terms of manpower, time and money,” Gastia told members of the Bangor City Council’s finance committee Monday afternoon.
Coplogic is the maker of the DeskOfficer Online Reporting System for lower priority incidents and crimes.
Gastia was on hand to answer questions about the system, which is now used by 150 police agencies nationwide. He asked councilors to recommend approving its purchase with $15,000 in federal homeland security grant money.
The system, which has been on the market for six years, could almost pay for itself in its first year of use, according to city officials.
“Coplogic is a way to streamline incident reporting and increase efficiency for us,” said Bangor police Sgt. Paul Edwards. “It’s going to free up a lot more of our time to do more pressing or immediate things and better utilize our manpower.”
It will also make reporting nonemergency incidents quicker and easier.
“It makes it more convenient for citizens as well as officers,” said City Manager Cathy Conlow. “For example, if someone has a car accident, they can use the system and have an official report available sooner for their insurance companies.”
The system prompts callers, step by step, to better classify the nature of their reports and leads them through the reporting process.
“There will be a learning curve at first as far as educating the public on what this system is best suited for. We obviously don’t want people calling this who have emergencies they should be calling 911 for,” said Edwards. “I’m sure it’ll be a learning process for our people as well.”
The system is easily able to interface with the Bangor Police Department’s current software, according to Edwards.
“We have a Spillman Technologies database system that it will interface with perfectly,” Edwards said.
Even with a projected annual cost of $5,000 for upkeep, maintenance and technical support, Gastia and Conlow say the DeskOfficer system can pay for itself.
“South Portland Police officials say the system saved them about $14,000 last year, and it took them awhile to phase it in and get people used to using it,” said Gastia.
Gastia and Conlow say the system has saved police time, manpower, mileage and effort by eliminating the need for many follow-up calls and personal visits, as well as making it unnecessary to respond to certain incidents.
“I think it will pay for itself, long term,” Conlow said.
If the city council approves the purchase, Edwards said the department could have it fully operational by late summer.
“I’m not sure when we’ll be able to provide all the training and fully implement it, but we may be able to have it in place by the end of the summer,” said Edwards.