Manchester police are working to make car crash reports available to residents through an online portal.
Manchester's approved a resolution Monday evening allowing the police department to enter into an agreement with Carfax's Crashdocs.org service. The website allows users to obtain reports online, bypassing the need to visit the records office.
The department's participation in the service will be free, and crash reports obtained through the website will cost $5 — the current fee — as established by township ordinance, said Council President Craig Wallis.
"It saves us the work of having someone here to do it," Wallis said. "It also gives easier access for some of the public who may not live around here to get the Carfax."
Reports still will be available at the department's records office, though the online reports should alleviate the need for residents to come into the department and make it easier for those who work during the day to obtain documents, said Chief of Police Brian Klimakowski.
"They're acting, more or less, as a subdivision of our records section, where they're providing these reports 24 hours a day, seven days a week," he said. "I anticipate that this will make [accessing copies of crash reports] faster."
Reports filed by officers make their way to supervisors and then are processed by the police department's Traffic Safety Section.
"Once the Traffic Safety officer does the final review, they'll be uploaded to Carfax," Klimakowski said.
Carfax will reimburse the township within 30 days of the end of each month for the records purchased online, according to the resolution. It was not immediately clear when the service will be available in Manchester, though council members believe it could become operational in May.
Locally, Ocean County police departments including Toms River, Lacey and Barnegat already use Carfax for crash reports.
The service is free to municipalities because it helps Carfax to construct the history of cars which one day may be sold on the used market — the company makes money by selling reports to potential car buyers.
"By doing this, it's going to build a record of car crashes in their database," Klimakowski said. "They'll be able to provide better service to the police and also customers."