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South Hills

Brentwood introduces new police technology

| Friday, June 2, 2017, 11:00 p.m.

Brentwood police department is using technology to help solve cases and inform residents about borough happenings.

Brentwood has joined the Crimewatch Technologies network, a digital service used to alert the public about crimes and criminals.

Residents can sign up for free to receive alerts from borough police.

“I put a lot of time into this webpage,” police Chief Adam Zeppuhar said.

Zeppuhar said he learned about Crimewatch Technologies last year when CEO Matt Bloom made a presentation at a South Hills Area Council of Governments meeting. Bloom also gave a presentation at a Brentwood Council meeting in February, saying Bloom said safeguards exist blocking harassing or inaccurate information to police.

Online content is owned and managed by law enforcement agencies. Free notifications go to community members about incidents in their area.

Residents can provide law enforcement with anonymous tips and information in real time.

“You have a generation that is hesitant to call 911,” Zeppuhar said.

The website is for non-emergency reporting, like filing a traffic complaint or noticing a repeat pattern of suspicious activity. Zeppuhar said residents should allow up to 48 hours for police to investigate the tip or report.

Immediate assistance needs reuqire a call to 911, Zeppuhar said.

After the site started May 21, Zeppuhar said the Brentwood page had 839 visits in six days.

The chief said his goal is to publish the incident blotter every week.

“It's still in the infancy stages, but I anticipate it becoming more popular,” Zeppuhar said.

In addition to listing arrests, vehicle crashes and other police calls, Zeppuhar has provided information under the resources link for various categories including opiate resources.

Community members can use the website to find out about borough ordinances, metered parking and how to pay a parking fine. Zeppuhar said more information will be added to the website.

I want to try and make it as informative as possible ... one-stop shopping,” Zeppuhar said.

Crimewatch Technologies is based in Carlisle and used mainly in southeastern Pennsylvania. Castle Shannon is the only other western Pennsylvania town with it.

Council approved a one-year agreement with Crimewatch Technologies at a cost of $2,400.

The network also is a web-based platform, allowing it to interface with the department's Facebook page.

The news feed at the lower half of the home page provides community members with updates on events, such as traffic restrictions for the parade on July 4, and blotter reports.

Jim Spezialetti is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-388-5805, or via Twitter @TribJimSpez.

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