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Brookhaven Police Department makes accident reports available online

Drivers involved in crashes in Brookhaven will no longer need to wait a few days then trek to the police department to purchase paper copies of their accident report.

There’s an app for that.

While the app is actually for the officers, the public will have access to a website to purchase accident reports online.

After a crash, the responding officer will scan the vehicles’ identification number and input the information about the collision into his cell phone.

The officer will give the drivers a card with a web address to access the accident report. It’s crashdocs.org.

It doesn’t cost any more for the driver to use the convenience of the online service, said Brookhaven Police Capt. Clint Earl.

“They pay the same fee that they’re currently paying at the window to obtain a copy of that accident report for their insurance or they can direct their insurance company to that site,” he said.

CarFax will send all money collected to the police department.

“They only charge the same amount that we charge,” Earl said. “There’s no extra fees.”

According to CarFax’s “Frequently Asked Questions” page on its website, police reports are generally available on crashdocs.org within five to seven business days following the incident.

All reports are displayed as PDF documents and require Adobe Acrobat Reader to download.

Earl said BPD is always looking for better ways to serve the city. He said the purpose of this free service is to prevent residents from making unnecessary trips to the police department and to give them the opportunity to have resources at their fingertips.

Paper copies will still be available at the police department, he said.

But the new service isn’t just a plus for the community. It will also help the police.

Through the app that officers will use to input the VIN and accident information, they will also be able to receive 24/7 VIN monitoring and alerts, view vehicle history reports and view accident reports.

This can all help with investigations, Earl said.

By inputing a vehicle identification number, an officer has the entire history of a vehicle at his fingertips. The app even has a barcode scanner.

“He can have everything about the vehicle that he needs. It cuts down on an officers’ time at an accident,” he said.

The app that the police will use can also help them narrow down searches on vehicles when witnesses only recall a few of the numbers on a license plate.

The police department became interested in the program when they realized how much it can assist the department and drivers in Brookhaven.

Sam Sones, an agent with Farm Bureau Insurance, said he sees this as a valuable resource for his clients.

“I think it will help my clients by removing the steps that a lot of them still think they have to do, which is physically go get a hard copy of an accident report and bring it to the insurance company to send to the adjuster,” he said.

In July, the police department received 168 traffic reports, but that number can vary each month.

“It’s going to give the citizens an easier or alternative avenue to gain access to their accident report,” Earl said.