Police Chief Robert Olson ordered the Minneapolis Police Department's Teleserve system shut down June 26 in a budget-cutting decision. However, the phone system -- used to report crimes and facilitate police reports without dispatching an officer -- was restored two weeks later.
Officer Ron Reier, police communication specialist, said Teleserve's reprieve came after police officials realized it cost more money to take reports without it. The service, which costs the city $225,000 per year, is commonly used for insurance purposes to document a loss.
Teleserve is used for low-priority crimes such as stolen purses, or when the victim is out of town but their home is burglarized. The victim can report the incident using the Teleserve line. The victim talks to one of three officers on staff to create a police report. The reports can be retrieved from room 31 of City Hall, 350 S. 5th St., as proof of the incident.
A Minneapolis police officer, who requested to remain anonymous, said without Teleserve, it was a burden to go take petty reports and required too much time.
Sonja Dauphin, supervisor of the police Criminal History and Records Unit, said police service slipped when Teleserve was shut down. She said residents were directed to call a squad car, taking up street officers time, or go to the area's precinct station, instead of picking up the phone.
"I'd rather have (officers) do something more constructive," Dauphin said. "To me, I like the cops on the street doing what they're suppose to be doing."
The Teleserve number is 673-3383.