Software that will be installed shortly on police’s new laptop computers in squad cars will not only allow officers to prepare and submit accident reports on their computers but also will allow residents to obtain copies of those accident reports online.

After accepting a grant agreement in April that allowed the purchase of new laptop computers for the police department’s 23 vehicles, the Forest Park Village Council Sept. 24 approved obtaining software for the new computers.

The village council voted 4-0 to adopt a resolution approving and authorizing a law enforcement agreement with LexisNexis Coplogic Solutions Inc. of Alpharetta, Ga. Commissioner Dan Novak was absent.

Police Chief Tom Aftanas said the new laptops, which are crash- and weather-resistant, will allow officers to file their accident reports online instead of hand-writing them. The $89,470 cost will be covered by a grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Similarly, the police department will obtain the software at no cost to the village, according to Aftanas. However, LexisNexis Coplogic will charge an $8 fee to those requesting a copy of an accident report. In addition to the $5 fee paid to the police department, the total fee for obtaining a copy of an accident report online will be $13.

He explained that drivers involved in a traffic accident in Forest Park each will be given a business card with the accident report number and instructions for accessing the report online. Those requesting a copy of the report online will be required to pay the fee with a credit card or debit card.

Aftanas explained that implementation will begin when the software is acquired with the entire process taking until the end of November, possibly sooner.

He said the use of the new laptops and software “should speed the process up” and will benefit the state police because they will receive accident reports more quickly.

Aftanas acknowledged hearing that some of the hand-written reports were difficult to read due to an officer’s penmanship but noted the new laptops and software will “clean things up.”

Those requesting a copy of an accident report in-person at the police department will only be charged the $5 fee.

Aftanas said a copy of an amended accident report, which would result from details in the original report being corrected or supplemented, would be available online at no additional charge. 

He noted that incident reports are not impacted by the change and will continue to be completed electronically on computer as has been done in the past.

According to a statement on the LexisNexis website, LexisNexis Coplogic Solutions provides a suite of web-based tools aimed at helping law enforcement agencies create workflow efficiencies through advanced technology. Agencies leveraging the firm’s solutions “achieve significant time savings” through the elimination of costly and manual processes enabling them to reallocate resources to higher priority activities, the statement continued.

According to the resolution, the agreement allows the village to utilize LexisNexis’s program to automate, manage and store electronic data related to vehicle accidents.