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Chief: Township Launches New Police Website

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – A new Lower Pottsgrove police website intends to give the public more direct access to community crime- and public safety-related information, and more easily allow local residents to leave tips about criminal activity without being publicly identified.

The site, which police department Chief Michael Foltz calls a “digital crime-fighting tool,” was officially introduced today (Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018) but features are gradually expected to be available online here over a period of weeks. The police website, which is separate from the township’s own online presence, is a service licensed by the township as part of the CrimeWatch Pennsylvania Network.

More than 100 departments across the state rely on CrimeWatch for its services; Lower Pottsgrove represents the second Montgomery County-based department to use it for what developers describe as “geographically targeted information sharing and intelligence gathering.” The network also includes departments serving Amity, East Earl, and North Coventry townships.

The site “is the perfect entry point for establishing better police and public partnerships,” Foltz said in a media release. “Technology gives us the opportunity to communicate with the public, and the anonymity of the tech avoids the potential risks of sharing information with the police,” he added.

Inadvertent tipster exposure is among the problems identified with police use of social media websites, law enforcement experts claim.

Lower Pottsgrove’s CrimeWatch portal can be viewed on any Internet-enabled device: a desktop or laptop computer, tablet, or mobile smartphone powered by Android or Apple operating systems. It also is accepting subscribers, here. A subscription allows users to:

  • Obtain a free account to receive e-mail alerts regarding crime committed in certain areas,
  • Submit tips to local law enforcement,
  • View recent arrests and “most wanted” lists,
  • File a right-to-know request,
  • Share information with others through social media, and
  • Connect to resources and services.

Foltz offered details about the CrimeWatch site during last week’s Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ meeting. The service was obtained at a discount through the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association for a cost of $2,280 a year, or about 19 cents each for the township’s roughly 12,000 residents.

Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ Feb. 5 meeting):

Photo from CrimeWatch Montgomery County

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