By Brian Messenger
---- — METHUEN — It just got more difficult to access city police records.
Beginning Monday, the Methuen Police Department drastically reduced the hours of its Records Division in what police Chief Joseph Solomon said will be a temporary change.
Members of the public will now only be able to speak with Records Division employees on Monday or Friday from 8 a.m. to noon.
Previous hours were Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to noon.
Solomon said the reduced hours are expected to be in place for six to eight weeks.
The change coincides with an administrative assistant’s medical leave. Solomon said the hours at the Records Division were reduced as an alternative to filling the position through overtime or by hiring a temporary employee.
“As soon as the employee’s back to work, we’re back to normal hours,” said Solomon. “We’re trying to do this to save money. We’ll see how this goes for a week or two.”
In place of normal hours, Solomon said the public can ask a dispatcher for a records request form at any time of day.
After filling out their name, phone number and other basic information, members of the public will then be asked to return to the police station during the reduced Records Division hours to pick up copies of their requested records.
In the next few months, Solomon said the Police Department also hopes to launch an online process for records requests. Solomon said the department will start with accident reports. If it is successful, incident reports may follow, he said.
How to Request Police Records To obtain a copy of a report from the Methuen Police Records Division, please do one of the following: 1. Make a request in person Monday or Friday from 8 a.m. to noon. OR 2. Fill out a request form and leave it with dispatch or fax it to 1-978-725-7807. Once a request is filled, members of the public will be required to pick up the records during the hours listed above and pay by either cash or check at that time. Copies cost 50 cents per side/per page. Members of the public will only be contacted if there is an issue or a question with their request.