Of course, that’s nothing unusual; we live in a confusing world.
Confusion seems to be reining in IT at the East Ridge Police Department, too. For the last three weeks the administration at the ERPD has been unable to consistently provide the public and the press with reports of its daily activities. These reports are placed on a table in the lobby allowing the ordinary citizen to come in, sit down and see what’s going on crime-wise in our city.
This concept is part of the state’s open records laws. It provides for any resident of the state of Tennessee to go into government offices during normal business hours and request to inspect documents pertaining to the public’s business.
Granted, the police department installed in-car computers for officers to file reports about a month ago. This was intended to make the process more efficient. Your cop on the beat wouldn’t have to come into HQ at the end of the day and make his/her reports. They could stay on the streets being visible and deterring crime in our neighborhoods.
Reports would get to supervisors quicker and the whole process would be streamlined.
Well, that hasn’t worked so well. I was told that there was some kind of a glitch and that the problem would be addressed. That was weeks ago.
Some readers of East Ridge News Online have commented about why there aren’t any “Police Briefs” being published. Well, dear reader. that is the reason. There are no reports available to review.
And the kicker is that nobody inside the department seems to have any sense of urgency to get the problem addressed. So, your guess is as good as mine as to when the public will once again have access to the reports showing where police are called, when they are called and what problems they are dealing with in our city.
I’m also confused over the fact that the 30 or so sworn officers who patrol our city 24 hours a day seven days a week made three arrests for the time period of July 18 through 23. I go to the Hamilton County Jail’s Website every Sunday morning to get that information. It is not provided by the ERPD, although they were asked almost two years ago if that information could be provided. It was not forthcoming.
In previous weeks officers have averaged about 15 arrests per week. This week, three.
I’m confused. I thought steaming hot weather made some people’s fuses shorter, increasing the likelihood of criminal behavior. Maybe it’s just too darned hot to be a crook, therefore the number of arrests have dropped.
Or, maybe every cop in East Ridge is cruising around the new Bass Pro Shops to make sure that commerce is not interrupted by criminals or a traffic accident. I don’t know. There aren’t any reports to figure it out.
Presumably the ERPD administration can see the reports, just not the public.
And it’s not just ERPD that is having trouble with computer systems. The Hamilton County 911 Center’s “Active Incidents” section of its Website has been down for maintenance for more than a week. This part of the 911 Website gives real time information about where first responders from all over the county have been dispatched.
I know that administrators of East Ridge Neighborhood Watch diligently monitor the 911 Website posting information to its members who are concerned about crime in their neighborhood. Now that information has evaporated.
So, we are in a “black hole” of sorts when it comes to the activities of law enforcement in our city and the greater Hamilton County area.