When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States back in March, it left many local law enforcement agencies reeling. They didn’t have a plan for how to respond to calls while taking precautions to ensure officer and citizen safety.

Very quickly the affected agencies started to create new protocols for how they normally undertake their missions. They sent both non-sworn and sworn personnel to work outside of the office, and they decided to reduce officer contact with citizens.

The goal of reduced citizen contact was accomplished in multiple ways. Some agencies actually pulled back from traffic enforcement. Others closed facilities commonly used by citizens such as station lobbies and records departments. But by far the most common way that agencies chose for social distancing officers from the public was through online reporting.

Instead of sending officers out to take reports for certain types of crimes such as vandalism and minor theft, agencies let the affected citizens create reports and file them with the agency online.

Some agencies already had online citizen reporting tools before the pandemic hit. One of the most popular tools for providing this capability is the Desk Officer Reporting System (DORS) from LexisNexis Coplogic Solutions.

Part of the LexisNexis Coplogic suite of law enforcement solutions, DORS was up and running at numerous agencies before the COVID crisis. The agencies that acquired DORS before the pandemic saw it as an officer efficiency tool, freeing officers up from taking minor reports and letting them focus on more serious crime-fighting tasks. It was also viewed as a convenience service for the public, as DORS could take reports at any time and citizens didn’t have to wait around for officers to come to their homes. “DORS saved citizens a lot of time,” says Roy Marler, vice president of product management for Coplogic Solutions.

Interest in DORS increased substantially during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also led to Coplogic modifying DORS to help agencies with COVID response. “Since COVID we have added a tremendous number of report types to DORS,” says Marler. The new report types added since March include violations of public health orders, civil unrest, and COVID-19 relief check fraud.

Marler says that the report categories in DORS are always being amended. “In 2019 we added 155 total incident report types. In 2020, we have added 378 incident types. The majority of the 2020 additions were made in March and April.”

According to Marler, DORS gives law enforcement agencies control over which reports become official. Citizens fill out the online forms, agency personnel can ask for more information, and accept it or reject it. Once it is accepted, the citizen’s report becomes an official police report for insurance claims and other purposes.

“Citizens really appreciate the ability to file these types of reports from their homes, especially during the pandemic,” Marler says. Even before the pandemic some citizens preferred the online reporting systems offered by their local law enforcement agencies. “It reduces the anxiety that having a squad car in your driveway sometimes creates,” he adds.

Marler says that even though DORS is part of the Coplogic Solutions offered by LexisNexis Risk Solutions, it is also available as a standalone service without any integration with the agency’s record management system. “We can stand it up really quickly and they can get the benefit of online reporting to the community,” he explains.

Agencies can pay up front for DORS or they can subscribe to the service. Some customers also choose to pay for the platform through an e-commerce option. Some agencies charge a fee to citizens for things like copies of accident reports. LexisNexis Coplogic will collect the fee for the agency and apply the agency fee to help pay for the platform.    

For more information, go to https://risk.lexisnexis.com/products/desk-officer-reporting-system