Appriss Collision Reporting System

"Major benefits for both officers and the public"



Appriss Collision Reporting System

By: Steve Wagner


Improving traffic safety, i.e., reducing the number of accidents and the injuries and fatalities that occur as a result, is a key focus of practically every law enforcement agency. And it’s no different for those of us at the Hendricks County Sheriff’s Office. Naturally, then, we are always looking for any information, tool or program that will help us make roadways safer for travelers. We found such a tool when we began using an electronic collision reporting system in 2007.

A crash data system within a state is the keystone of a statewide traffic records system. It not only holds the basic data critical to developing and deploying effective traffic safety countermeasures, it frequently serves as the hub through which other systems are connected.

In 2006, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provided funding to states to improve traffic records. Crash reporting was the high priority in this grant program. NHTSA provided a “Six Pack of Performance Measures,” which it deemed a critical part of improvements. These six are Timeliness, Accuracy, Completeness, Uniformity, Integration and Accessibility.

A statewide data repository can be a “one-stop shop” by providing: 1) completeness with applied data edits and values; 2) uniformity, with all agencies submitting like reports; 3) accessibility by having a single point of access; 4) integration with other state agencies; 5) accuracy of data with importation tools; and 6) improvement in the timeliness of submissions for data analysis.

Technology is changing at a rapid pace and it is working to our benefit as law enforcement officers seeking to get information quickly and accurately. The development of laptops and in-car installations has provided numerous applications for agencies to use. The ability of an officer to collect and import data into an electronic crash report application has changed data collection forever.

The system, which is provided by Appriss Inc., has given agencies a beginning and end solution for the gathering, submission and analysis of crash records data.

The service has been very beneficial for us, vastly improving our ability to collect, submit and analyze crash data.

By making our crash reports more timely, more accurate and more efficient, we have easier and quicker access to information that we can use to make traffic changes that make a real difference—not only for the safety of the driving public, but also for the officers who respond to crashes.

For instance, with the data we gleaned from the system, we discovered that there was an inordinately high number of accidents at a particular intersection when compared to similar intersections in our county. As a result of that information, we were able to convince county government to erect two additional stop signs, turning a two-way stop into a four-way stop. Since those signs were erected the crashes, have practically come to a halt.

The system allows for officers to quickly capture driver and vehicle information at the scene. A driver exchange form can be printed in the patrol car, allowing for faster crash scene clearance. 

It also reduces the risk of officers being injured at the scene as well as the risk of a secondary crash. There are similar success stories from law enforcement agencies in other states that are using the same system.


Roselle, Ill.

Robert Legg is the police services manager with the Roselle Police Department in Illinois. According to Legg, the system is a major timesaver. “It’s more consistent because it error-checks the records for us,” he said. “It saves us time because we don’t have to scan the reports and we’re able to stay ahead of the paperwork.” Legg said his department has used other electronic systems, but this one has had the most acceptance.


Kane County, Ill.

Deputy Jim Caulfield, a crime analyst with the Kane County Sheriff’s Department, also in Illinois, said his office investigates approximately 2,000 vehicle accidents a year and the system is an invaluable tool. “It’s accessible 24 hours a day so we can be proactive in speed enforcement and public safety,” Caulfield said. “I see this as a deterrent to accidents, helping us protect the 515,269 residents in our community.”


South Barrington, Ill.

The South Barrington, Ill. Police Department has been using the system for a year. It has been installed in the department workstations as well as all squad cars. “This simple interface allows officers to easily input the information, utilize the quick copy feature to run the driver’s license number and license plate through the state database and add it directly to the accident report,” Sgt. Jim Kaplan stated. “We have portable printers in the squad

cars that allow the officer to print exchange forms and provide them to the motorists at the scene.”


Georgia Chiefs of Police

In Georgia, Frank Rotondo, Executive Director of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, said the accuracy of crash reports with this system is much improved. “What we’re having now are more professionally generated reports, relatively easy to read … and easy for the departments to recognize where the problems are in their own cities or their own counties.

“For the police agency, when they locate high-accident locations, what they’re able to do is center their patrol on those areas. The value of this program is just unbelievable. It’s a very credible program. It’s a big, giant step that we’ve taken now that we’re using databases and electronic reporting.”


Fishers, Ind.

And back again in Indiana, Sgt. Steve Pickett, with the Traffic Enforcement Unit of the Fishers Police Department, said the program makes analyzing crash information a lot easier. You can easily go through the information and find where problem areas are and take action to fix them.

“Our Public Works Department has used this crash information in the past few years to select locations for new roundabouts, lane improvements, and during long-term construction projects, to monitor increases in crashes on detour routes.” Picket leaves no doubt about the system’s value. “I think we have saved lives. We have reduced crashes and injuries. We love it; we couldn’t do without it.”

An additional benefit of the system is that since crash reports are electronically stored in a single repository, they are easily accessible online, giving the parties involved in a collision the convenience option of downloading and purchasing their reports right from their computer.

Information obtained from the collision data system can assist with what we refer to as the Four E’s: Evaluation, Education, Engineering and Enforcement. The first is Evaluation. That means the data obtained can help determine the causation at primary contributors in the crash or areas being analyzed. The second is Education. Through the use of data, public safety announcements, print materials and the use of social media can provide information as to the areas of concern.

The third is Engineering. Local traffic engineers can review high crash locations and determine if roadways or intersections can be changed to make travel safer. Finally, Enforcement. Local law enforcement agencies can use data gathered at high crash locations (such as speed, alcohol and/or other contributing factors) to develop countermeasures to reduce the number of incidents.


Col. Steve Wagner is the Chief Deputy with the Hendricks County, Ind. Sheriff’s Office. He may be reached at

Published in Law and Order, Nov 2013

Rating : Not Yet Rated

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