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The advantage of technology

Farmville’s Police Department is enabling the community to be more aware of what’s going on across town in a user-friendly way, and that’s both commendable and admirable in many ways.

Other law enforcement agencies should take note of the department’s investment in crime-reporting software that’s making the department more transparent — something that government needs on all levels.

In addition to purchasing and using Crime Reports, the town’s police department is working cooperatively with Longwood University’s police force, including the college’s crime data in the reporting program — another point that departments need to take heed of.

Using technology to share public information is one thing, but it’s another to work cooperatively with another agency to share knowledge and information.

Using the new online interactive database, available at www.farmvilleva.com, residents can access maps, locations, times, types of calls and a history of reported offenses after they’re entered into the police department’s databases using the online application.

Not only does this new tool help police in their mission and efforts to keep us safe; it also enables Farmville residents and the Longwood community to know what’s going on outside of their back doors without leaving their homes or wading through enormous amounts of data.

Using Crime Reports, Internet users can view icons that depict a certain type of reported crime, and select the symbol for detailed information. Users can also query the department’s database for specific crimes during three, seven-, 14- or 30-day periods.

“The purpose of this is for the police department to be more open with the community,” Farmville Police Chief Curtis Davis said. “(It) gives them an opportunity to see a picture of what’s happened within the past 30 days or three days or whatever they choose to look at, and being more open.”

Being more open is exactly what this new technology is allowing the Farmville Police Department to do.

Jordan Miles is managing editor of The Farmville Herald. His email address is jordan.miles@farmvilleherald.com.