By MARY RAINWATER
Following the recent approval of the Palestine City Council, the Palestine Police Department has entered into an agreement with PoliceReports.US to make accident reports available online to citizens and businesses.
Beginning Monday, accident reports will be available online, starting with accidents that occurred on or after Jan. 1 that were investigated by the Palestine Police Department.
The cost of the accident report, including the PoliceReports.US fee, will be $11, with the original $6 fee being returned to the City of Palestine.
“This process will be time saving for our records staff and the public by adding an additional option to facilitate the release of accident report information,” PPD Lt. Jeffrey Powell said.
Before this option was available, insurance companies would mail the records department a check, and then the records clerk would pull the record, print a copy, and mail a copy back to the company.
This process usually takes several days to complete and citizens would have to come to the police department and possibly wait in line to be served.
“Prior to bringing this option to the city council, I did some research and contacted other Texas municipalities that were using this same company to provide online reports to gauge their satisfaction level,” Powell said. “Every clerk I spoke with appeared to be genuinely pleased with the company and its service as well as the time savings.”
With the use of PoliceReports.US’s service, as soon as the supervisor approves the accident report, an electronic copy is electronically filed and scheduled to be uploaded into the PoliceReports.US system by 9 a.m. the next weekday morning.
“The records would usually be available by noon of the same day that they are uploaded,” Powell said. “As a note, however, this does not change the time that it will take to actually complete the accident report and get it uploaded.”
By policy, the PPD strives to have accident reports completed within three days of the actual collision. In most instances, the report is completed the same day or the next day.
A link will be added to the City of Palestine’s webpage at www.cityofpalestinetx.org under Departments/Police sub-header.
Citizens also can visit the link http://palestinepdtx.policereports.us/ starting on Monday to retrieve their police reports in an electronic format. They will have to enter some unique information known to them to be able to access those records.
“The Palestine Police Department will still maintain the ability for citizens to access the records in person, if they choose, for the original $6 fee,” Powell said, “but we feel that the convenience factor was worth implementing this option, and we are happy to be working with PoliceReports.US.”
Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org