By CHRIS AGEE
Mineral Wells Police Chief Dean Sullivan presented information at last week's Mineral Wells City Council meeting concerning an opportunity for the city to evaluate a new crash reporting software system.
The system, known as Crash Reporting and Analysis for Safer Highways (CRASH), is provided by the Texas Department of Transportation at no cost to the city and allows the MWPD to test and evaluate its effectiveness.
Sullivan said the program is his department's latest tool to increase efficiency among officers and provide more timely service to citizens.
He called it a "unique opportunity," noting TxDOT approached the department with an offer to serve as a beta test site. He also noted he spoke with Department of Public Safety Sgt. Jeffrey Poole, who spoke favorably of the similar program his agency uses.
Since crash reports are among the most frequent calls for service, Sullivan said a time-saving program like CRASH will result in a noticeable improvement in officer effectiveness.
Officers responding to crash scenes will be able to submit crash reports directly from the field via Internet and more rapidly submit state-required reports to DPS.
Providing even more benefit, Sullivan said the CRASH system will work with the department's developing partnership with Sam Houston State University.
The goal of that relationship is to establish a computer-aided dispatch and records management system through SHSU's police information management system known as Criminal Research, Information Management, and Evaluation System (CRIMES.)
According to Sullivan, the CRIMES program contains a module capable of capturing data for the CRASH system. That interconnectivity will eliminate redundant input of information.
Officers will also be able to better analyze crash trends to determine the community's needs and effectiveness of traffic patterns.
With the MWPD at the forefront as a testing site, Sullivan said he expects state officials will embrace the program for law enforcement across Texas.
Council members voted unanimously to approve a resolution authorizing the City Manager Lance Howerton to establish the agreement between the MWPD and TxDOT.