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Poplarville PD works out bugs in records system

After months of technical difficulties, the Poplarville Police Department has met federal crime reporting requirements before the January deadline.

The department has $49,599 in grant funds it was already awarded, but would have lost those funds if it did not meet the certification deadline, said Poplarville Police Chief Danny Collier. The funding will pay for laptops in patrol cars and cover the cost of a records management system for the next year.

The FBI required law enforcement agencies to switch from a less detailed crime statistics reporting system to the National Incident Based Reporting System by January 2021. Some agencies already reported crime statistics with NIBRS.

With the previous reporting system, only the most serious crime would be reported in an incident, said Collier. So, if an incident involved a break in and murder, only the murder would have been reported. NIBRS requires each individual crime to be reported, which should provide better statistics on what kind of crimes are happening and where.

Previously officers at the Poplarville Police Department typed crime data into a spreadsheet, which it would submit. Now, the department is using a records management system that collects the data as it is entered into reports and then compiles a report the department can file with the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.

There have been some issues over the last several months as the police department has tried to submit that data to the state. The department has had to revalidate reports several times due to software issues, both with the state and with the records management system. But Collier said the vendor has been very responsive in rewriting software and providing updates when there were issues submitting the data.

The department has been able to successfully submit six months of crime report test submissions that meet the requirements to be NIBRS certified.