COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - With a shortage of police officers in Columbus, officials are being forced to look at what services they can eliminate.
On Thursday, the Columbus Police Department announced the first change that people will see. Columbus police aren’t going to be writing reports for accidents on private property. For example, if you were in a fender bender in a parking lot, police would provide you with the form to fill out yourself.
“The reason we’ve made this change is because of a manpower issue," said Lt. Lance Deaton. "We’ve got such a reduction in officers right now, we’re trying to make some decisions and do some things that will allow officers to get back on the street, or we call it, 10-8 back in service in a timely fashion so that we can service calls that are criminal and emergency calls.”
What police will do is provide you with a D.D.S. 190 form to fill out and send via mail. The exceptions include accidents involving a DUI, a hit-and-run, a city vehicle, or injuries.
“An accident is an accident, whether it’s private or public," said Raymond Hughley. "It should be the same thing consistently.”
“Who handles this?" Shelby Ramirez said. "How do we know that what happened on scene is actually what happened on scene if there’s no official record of that?”
“Both people said it wasn’t their fault," Randall Hicks said. "If it wasn’t their fault, then you still get nailed with the insurance. It doesn’t make sense to me.”
Deaton wants to make it clear that this change only impacts who writes the report.
“You’re never going to hear us say, no we’re not coming, we’re coming," Deaton said. "They will have an opportunity to evaluate that when they get there. It’s just a matter of are we going to do the report or are we going to hand you these forms and explain to you how to do that.”
Deaton said this form is not new. He says the police department is actually late to the game with change. This is how many agencies across the country handle private property accidents.