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Many Lancaster County police departments are using new online reporting tool for non-emergency situations

The Lancaster County District Attorney's Office says the tool, part of the region's CRIMEWATCH presence, is a precaution against potential COVID-19 exposure
Police lights by night

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — The Lancaster County District Attorney's Office says several police departments in its jurisdiction are using a new, online reporting system for non-emergency incidents like vandalism, damaged vehicles, or lost/stolen wallets.

The online system is part of the participating departments' pages on CRIMEWATCH, a two-way communication platform between police and residents, the DA's office said. 

It was implemented in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in an effort to limit potential exposure to the virus by minimizing face-to-face interactions between police and residents in non-emergency situations, according to the DA.

Most of Lancaster County's police departments have active pages on CRIMEWATCH, the DA said.

The reporting feature is free to use for both police departments and anyone who is making a report, according to the DA.

About half the departments  in Lancaster County, and the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, are using online reporting, the DA's office said.

The Lancaster County police departments and sheriff's offices using the online reporting tool, as of March 31:

  • Columbia
  • East Cocalico Township
  • Ephrata
  • Lancaster
  • Lititz
  • Manheim Borough
  • Manor Township
  • Northern Lancaster County Regional
  • Pequea Township
  • West Earl Township
  • West Lampeter Township
  • Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office

The DA's office is emphasizing that police departments are not scaling back enforcement efforts or staffing fewer officers; the online reporting system is just a precaution meant to preserve public safety and the safety of police officers.

"Police are responding to emergency situations as they always have: with urgency and attention to assisting the person(s) in need," the DA's office said.

The DA's office said it is confident that police officers will continue to protect and serve all communities. Making an online report is easy; it involves providing information in designated categories, e.g. location, date/time, and what happened. 

Departments using the online reporting tool will view the reports, triage, and respond to the incidents in the appropriate manner, according to the DA. 

Find your department’s CRIMEWATCH platform here.