Mississippi Cops Adjusting To New Paperwork - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

01/15/04

Mississippi Cops Adjusting To New Paperwork

The Mississippi Uniformed Crash Report was designed for more accurate coverage of an accident.

But many officers are calling it one thing - tedious.

"Well, it's long. Some of the officers are having a hard time understanding why the report changed. Basically, it's the same report but it just goes into more detail than what the old report did," said Gulfport Police Department Lt. Fred Gaston.

The added paperwork doubles the time spent by everyone involved on the scene. And if one error is made by the reporting officer, all six pages may have to be redone.

"On the old report, we could describe one item that was a sequence of event that resulted in that crash. On this new one, we have up to four items we can choose in each one of these columns. So we can get a pretty good picture of how the crash occurred, " said Gaston.

The list of vehicles is even more detailed.

"The vehicle descriptions are more in depth, like on the old report, it didn't have SUV on there, so we had to use station wagon van," said Gaston.

Though the new report is taken some getting used to, both Gulfport and Biloxi police departments see the new form as a change for the better.

"I see a lot of positives on the new one when you really look at it closely because it goes into Hazmat, trucks, with all the placards, and chemicals and chemical spills that was never on the old ones," said Biloxi Police Department captain Bruce Dunagan.

"I think eventually it's gonna make things a lot easier over all through insurance carriers, because the insurance companies have a lot into these also with statistical information and trying to satisfy who is at fault and who is not at fault, paying and so forth."

The new crash report will be re-evaluated by state officials in the near future to see what elements should be continued or deleted.

Officials say an electronic version of the report is also in the works.

By Karla Redditte

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