Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Officer, Is Something Going On?

From time to time we receive calls from concerned citizens about the happenings in their neighborhood.  It’s only natural to want to know what is going on, particularly in those cases where there are larger groups of officers or when officers arrive in some type of tactical type of gear.  Unfortunately, there are times when we cannot answer specific questions about the details or nature of a call.

I once wrote about the delicate balance between a person’s right to know and need to know.  Sometimes this is because of details of a crime that must be protected for future trial issues and other times it may be as basic as a person’s right to protect health information or HIPAA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).  With that statement you may wonder how HIPAA would be involved with a police call.  Anytime someone requires medical attention, a mental evaluation, or a call that is a suicide threat, it can become a HIPAA related event.

Above all else, the officers operate with the safety of the public and involved parties in mind.  The situation, at any given time, dictates their response and notification to area residents when needed.

Unfortunately, we cannot always provide the details people clamor for, but there is a way you can do some research on your own to find out about activity in your area.

The city website, www.opkansas.org has a link to an interactive crime map.  This map is available for you to access and search the area around a given address.  By accessing the interactive map http://gis.opkansas.org/My-Neighborhood/# you can find what types of reported incidents have occurred in the past 60-days.

While I hope you can get more than a “Nothing to see here” response, in the event that is what you are told at the time, you can at least refer to the crime map.