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HPD chief: Hopeful for detailed police log soon

by | Dec 12, 2021 | Featured: News, News, Police & Fire

The Hopkinton Police Department’s arrest and incident log continues to be unavailable for publication, as the department only has released very basic information.

Chief Joseph Bennett said last week that he has had multiple discussions with the department’s new software provider, ProPhoenix, about finding a solution.

“I’ve identified it as the single most critical request for service” from the company, Bennett said. “I’ve asked them to place it on the top. They have delivered improvements since our last meeting, and they continue to work on it.”

Bennett said he is optimistic the problem will be remedied in the coming days, once the company figures out how to release the appropriate information without sharing details that would violate state law.

“We think we’re going to be able to get something more like we used to have, which will include the dispatcher remarks,” Bennett said. “The problem we have now is the report that [is being] generated lists a bunch of information that’s not compliant with the Mass. law. So we’re working with the vendor to outline and explain the Mass. law and what we’re looking for.

“It put a bunch of information like the people’s names and dates of birth, and it wasn’t excluding juveniles. The product was built in another state, so we’re trying to get it in compliance [with state law].”

Bennett added that once the issues are worked out, the system will have “a lot better interaction right from the [911] call-taker,” including the ability for dispatchers to text with emergency callers, including accepting photos.

“We can do tons of really forward-facing sharing of data,” he said. “I’m looking at a dashboard that — if we can get this up and running safely — we’ll be able to look at our map, click on dots, look at how many calls for service by section, and I’m hoping [the media] will have access to our whole database and will be able to run your own reports on everything.”

In the meantime, only limited information is being shared with the public.

“It’s been a tough couple of years in the making,” Bennett said. “Anything this big always has hiccups.”

On a related note, the HPD is advising residents to be be careful about leaving their vehicles unlocked, especially if there are valuables inside. He said there has been an increase in break-ins and vehicle thefts in the region, including in town. However, he noted that the majority of the thefts have occurred when people have left their cars unlocked.

“Lock your cars. That’s the number one thing you can do,” Bennett said. “They’re very rarely smashing windows. They’re just opening the car, looking through it to see if there’s anything they might want. Then they press the [engine start] button, and if you left your fob in the car, they drive away.”

He also suggested having packages delivered to the back of the house or while someone is home.

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