NORTH COVENTRY TOWNSHIP, PA
The North Coventry Township Police Department will soon be getting new software that will allow its officers to better communication with the public and with other law enforcement agencies throughout the state.
The township supervisors approved the purchase of the new software, which is a product of Crimewatch Technologies Inc., a Carlisle-based company that has been selling the software to law enforcement agencies since 2012.
The software has two components, the first of which is a new website that allows information to be shared more easily and more often.
"What we do is we push the police department into a space where they're sharing more information and become like a news outlet for their jurisdiction," said Crimewatch Technologies CEO Matt Bloom. "With people using social media nowadays, that becomes a hub for information."
North Coventry Police Chief Robert Schurr said that the new software will streamline the process of the department issuing press releases and allow officers to input their information directly into the system rather than posting on Facebook, as they do now.
"It's going to cut some steps out," Schurr said.
The software will allow updates to be posted to a variety of social media platforms automatically. Also included in the software is a mobile app that can notify residents of an emergency situation in their neighborhood.
The second component the site offers is a private system that departments can use to share information and identify patterns in crime.
"The database system breaks down the traditional jurisdictional and geographic restrictions in law enforcement," Bloom said. "It's very important as a way to help them facilitate information sharing, not only between departments locally, but also in Lancaster, Montgomery and Berks counties."
The software cost is based on the number of township citizens, which will result in North Coventry paying about $160 per month for the service for the next year, at which point the board will re-evaluate the effectiveness of the software.
Bloom said the company was also waiving a $3,600 setup fee as part of its efforts to get its software into Chester County.
He said five law enforcement agencies in Chester County have signed up for the service, and that the company is in talks with the Chester County district attorney's office in hopes of getting the software used countywide, as is done in Lancaster County.
Bloom also said the company had discussions with Montgomery County about bringing the software there as well.
Fifty-nine Pennsylvania police departments currently use the software, Bloom said.
The software, Schurr said, is expected to be implemented in the next few weeks.
Contact Matt Carey: 610-371-5038 or firstname.lastname@example.org.