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Crash data going digital


Law Enforcement Agencies receive grant for electronic crash reporting

Keeping up in the age of blackberries and Wi-Fi is no easy task, but for 59 Michigan police agencies, including the Law Enforcement Agencies of Montcalm County, a federal grant will allow them to move traffic crash reporting to an electronic system.
With the addition of these agencies, approximately 450 of Michigan’s police agencies will now be reporting crashes digitally. The upgrades have been paid for with more than $3.6 million in grants administered by the Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) over the past four years.
Grant funds will allow agencies to upgrade and enhance their crash reporting systems to allow officers to record the details of a crash via in-car computers. Program costs include necessary equipment, software, connectivity wires, electronic license readers as well as training.
“By outfitting police cars with the computers and software necessary to record crash data electronically, the data is processed faster and more accurately,” said Howard City Police Chief Steven DeWitt. “With the ability to report crash data electronically, we are well on our way to a less expensive, more modern system.”
Since electronic crash reporting began in Michigan in 2003, the processing time has dropped from an average of 103 days to just 15; the number of errors on crash forms has also declined due in part to the electronic system.
Crash reports will be typically completed and transmitted to the state the same day it occurred, allowing those involved to download the crash report to their own computers from the State of Michigan website once it is processed by the state.
Each agency was required to submit a grant application for the funds.
The Grant was applied for on behalf of the combined Law Enforcement Agencies in Montcalm County in a continued effort to consolidate Law Enforcement Efforts and to apply for beneficial grants as a whole to reduce costs and continue to make services more efficient and less costly.

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