The system will be staffed 24 hours a day, with officers assigned to front-desk positions at the four district police stations.
Police say the system could save money and increase efficiency in patrol operations, as chat sessions could alleviate the need to send an officer in some cases.
During testing, police said, the system provided valuable insight to damage locations during a tornado outbreak last spring. It also led to the arrest of a fugitive from the Most Wanted list when a witness recognized a woman from the poster and alerted officers through the chat system.
To chat with an officer, go to arlingtonpd.org and click “Start Chat.”
Users will be able to email or print a transcript after the chat session to keep a written record of the dialogue.
-- Sarah Bahari