The Whitehall Police Department has now marked two spots at the police department as “Internet Purchase Exchange Locations.” These are commonly referred to as “Meetup Spots” and are used by buyers and sellers from online marketplaces to meet in-person and complete transactions. The locations are monitored by closed circuit video but not staffed with a police officer. However, officers are frequently present and close by. The first location is on the driveway directly in front of the police department and the second location is in the lobby. Police recommend using the lobby when possible because this location records both audio and video.
This new program is in response to a citizen request and a growing trend across the nation. Chief of Police Mike Crispen holds quarterly “town hall” meetings so he can hear from and respond directly to citizens of the community. In a previous town hall meeting, a Whitehall citizen, Lori Elmore, requested that police look into the program as a way to help keep residents safe when meeting strangers to complete internet purchases. The internet sales site “OfferUp” provided the signs to the Whitehall Police Department free of charge. Police recommend always completing these transactions during the day and in a safe public place. It is never advisable to invite strangers to your home to compete an internet transaction. If the buyer or seller will not agree to those terms then police always recommend cancelling the transaction.