Arlington P.D. allows citizens to see what calls their P.D. are on
Jan. 20--ARLINGTON -- If you've ever heard the wails of multiple sirens and wondered where police were headed, look no farther than your computer.
On the Arlington Police Department's Web site, you can click on the "Active Calls" link to learn about calls to 911 dispatchers. The link shows what kinds of calls -- most are about crimes -- police are handling and their general locations.
A "Traffic Calls" link shows what accidents police are working.
"This is another way that we are communicating with the public," said Lt. Blake Miller, a police spokesman. "It's another tool that allows citizens of Arlington to see what their Police Department is doing."
The link is a work in progress, he said. It debuted in November, but decisions are still being made about what kinds of information will be posted. Currently, call locations are limited to block numbers, and calls such as hostage situations or sexual assaults are not posted to protect victims' identities, Miller said.
Officers have voiced concerns about criminals tracking police activity or crowd-control issues developing during a major call. But no problems have arisen so far, Miller said.
"We've had nothing to indicate anyone has used this for anything other than to keep up with their community," he said.
In North Texas, Dallas Fire and Rescue is the only other major department with call-tracking on its Web site. Nationally, the California Highway Patrol and the Tampa Police Department offer the online service.
The information on the Arlington police Web site comes in raw from people contacting dispatchers, before officers are on the scene. Often, police reach different conclusions about incidents than callers do, Miller said.
"These calls are taken from the calls made to the 911 operator," he said. "When the officer gets out there, they may say the situation is something totally different."
Miller said that he has received more than 100 e-mails about the active calls list and that the overwhelming majority have been positive.
WHAT A STUPID IDEA!!!!!