"Major benefits for both officers
and the public"
Appriss Collision Reporting System
By: Steve Wagner
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
South Barrington, Ill.
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
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.
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.”
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.
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
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.