More people will soon have improved access to Pennsylvania State Police reports.
The agency’s 16 troops have started posting their public information police reports online at www.psp.pa.gov
This will replace the reports that PSP sends to media outlets and anyone else who requests copies via fax, Ryan Tarkowski, communications director, said on Wednesday.
“People expect to have a lot of that information made available to them online,” he said of the change.
Once any tweaks have been worked out and everyone is comfortable with the new format, the faxes will stop.
Anyone with internet access can visit the state police website and click on “For Media,” then “Troop/Bureau Press Releases.”
A map appears showing which troops cover each county; scroll down and click on the troop whose reports you want to view.
Troop D covers Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Lawrence and Mercer counties.
There are two other categories listed: “Gaming” will show reports from the Bureau of Gaming Enforcement; and “Liquor Control” will show releases from the Bureau of Liquor Control.
PSP wants to be as open and transparent as possible, and sharing the news releases online is as easy way to accomplish that goal, Tarkowski said.
Previously, anyone could request faxed reports, or they could come to the station to look at the police blotter.
The online reports will include .pdf files of crimes, reportable accidents, and other incidents.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” he said.
This will help members of the media, who are not always working from a newsroom or near a fax machine, Col. Robert Evanchick, commissioner of Pennsylvania State Police, said in a news release.
“Embracing a mix of communication channels not only helps police agencies engage with the public, but also provides a way to share potentially life-saving information during emergencies,” Evanchick said.
The police reports will be posted as soon as possible and they’ll remain on the website for 45 days. PSP does not release booking photos or mugshots.
PSP also shares information on social media: @PAStatePolice on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Nextdoor.
Each troop’s public information officer and community service officers also use Twitter for their coverage areas, according to the news release.
State police officials remind the public to not use the agency’s social media accounts to report emergencies or crimes in progress – call 911 for help.