Montgomery County Police Department Vehicle Accident Report Purchase System On-line Users Guide

The Vehicle Accident Report Purchase System (VARPS) enables users to find, purchase, and download Montgomery County Police non-fatal vehicle accident reports using a Visa Visa logo image or a MasterCard Mastercard logo image credit card on-line. Essentially, the system allows users to search for a non-fatal vehicle accident report on-line by accident report number (CR#). Accident report numbers are unique and are given to the driver(s) and/or to the pedestrian(s) involved in the vehicle accident by a Montgomery County Police Officer. Non-fatal vehicle accident reports are typically published on-line within 3 to 5 business days after an accident has occurred.

Follow the steps described below to learn how to navigate the web application and to find, purchase, and download Montgomery County, Maryland Police vehicle accident report(s) on-line:

> Navigating the VARPS Interface
> Step 1: Search for a Vehicle Accident Report
> Step 2: Review the Accident Vehicle Report Shopping Cart
> Step 3: Purchase the Vehicle Accident Report(s)
> Step 4: Review Order Download the Vehicle Accident Report(s)
> Additional Help and Contact Information


Navigating the VARPS Interface


Figure 1: The VARPS Interface
A screen snapshot describing how to navigate the VARPS Interface

Header
The Header appears at the top of the web page and contains the VARPS title as well as hyperlinks to navigate to the VARPS Home page (Home), to contact the Montgomery County Police for more information (Contact Us), to display frequently asked questions (FAQ), to access the on-line help (Help), and navigate back to the County Home page by clicking montgomerycountymd.gov+.

Primary Display Area
The Primary Display Area of the interface enables users to select tabs to Search for an Accident Report, to Review the Accident Report Shopping Cart, and to link directly to the Montgomery County Police Web Site Home page. The Primary Display Area also hosts the forms necessary to purchase and download accident reports. In addition, the Primary Display Area also provides graphics which illustrate and indicate the current vehicle accident report payment process step.

Footer
The Footer area contains links to the County's Internet Privacy Policy, User Rights, Accessibility policy, and Disclaimer statement. In addition, the footer area provides links to enable users to register for County Alerts, to list County Internet Awards, to access the County Code, and to read County Blogs and Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds. Copyright text is also provided.

Important Notes
The application is best viewed using Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.x or Mozilla's FireFox 2.x or better web browsers.

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Step 1: Search for a Vehicle Accident Report

To search for an accident report, follow the steps presented below:

  1. Select the Search tab in the Primary Display Area of the application's interface


  2. Enter the full (8-digit) vehicle accident report number (CR#) into the form field provided on the search page
    • The CR# is the last 8 digits of the local case number provided at the top right of the accident report

  3. Click the Find Report button to initiate the search after you have entered the CR# into the form field
    • If the number submitted is not 8 digits in length, then you will receive an error message stating "CR# must be 8 numeric number!"
    • Once a search has been successfully initiated, a searching status indicator is provided to inform users that a search is in-progress. Please be patient as it may take a few seconds to find the report
    • If the report is found, the search results will provide a list a document id number, a brief report description, and the report creation date.

  4. To add the report to the Shopping Cart select the Add Report to Cart button and go to Step 2:Review Accident Report Shopping Cart


  5. If the report can not be found, repeat the previous steps listed under Step 1: Search for an Accident Report and try again. Make sure that you enter the CR# accurately into the form field provided
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Step 2: Review the Accident Report Shopping Cart

To review, remove, continue shopping, or check out the reports listed in your shopping cart, follow the steps provided below:

  1. Review the report(s) listed in your shopping cart after successfully completing Step 1: Search for a Vehicle Accident Report. You may also select the Review Cart tab to move directly to this Step at any time.

    Important Notes
    The accident report number (CR#), the report category ("Accident Report"), the report price ($10.00), the total quantity ordered, and the sub-total cost for each report to be purchased will be listed on the page for your review. In addition, the total cost will also be tallied just beneath (bottom-left) the shopping cart report listing.


  2. To remove a report listed, select the Remove button for the desired report. If you remove a report from the shopping cart, then a message will appear on the page indicating that the product has been successfully removed from the shopping cart. As a result, the shopping cart will also update to reflect the changes made and will re-calculate the total cost of the items listed.


  3. To order another report, select the Continue Shopping button and go back to Step 1: Search for a Vehicle Accident Report. You can at any time review what is in your shopping cart by selecting the Review Cart tab.


  4. If you would like to purchase the report, then click the Proceed to Checkout button and go to Step 3: Purchase the Accident Report(s)


  5. Figure 2: Review the Vehicle Accident Report Shopping Cart Screen
    The Review the Vehicle Accident Report Shopping Cart Screen image snapshot
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Step 3: Purchase the Vehicle Accident Report

To purchase a vehicle accident report(s), please follow the steps provided below:

  1. After selecting the Proceed to Checkout button in Step 2, you will be prompted to complete the following form:

    Important Notes
    Please note that required form fields are indicated by a red asterisk (*) and that the system only accepts Visa or Mastercard credit cards at this time. Also, an address verification system (AVS) is used to validate a credit card holder's address with the address, city and zip code submitted from the purchase form to ensure data accuracy and to minimize fraud. Consequently, the address entered in the form must match the address on your credit card statement.

    Figure 3: Vehicle Accident Report Purchase Form
    Vehicle Accident Report Purchase Form screen snapshot enables users to enter their name, address, phone, fax, email address, city, zip code, credit card type, credit card number, credita card expiration date, and additional comments.

  2. After completing all of the required form fields, click the Process Payment button and wait few seconds for the transaction to complete.


  3. All VARPS transactions are submitted to SkipJack Merchant Services, a County credit-card gateway service vendor, and are forwarded to the County's credit card processing vendor, Elavon for approval. Possible transaction response types are provided below:

    Approved Transactions
    Once a transaction has successfully completed and approved, a payment confirmation email will be generated by SkipJack and is sent, typically within a few minutes, to the email address provided in the form. Once approved, you will move to Step 4: Review and Download the Vehicle Accident Report(s) (See Figure 4).

    Denied Transactions due to Insufficient Funds or Data Entry Mistakes
    If the transaction has been denied due to insufficient funds or data entry mistakes, then a transaction denied message will appear and a Skipjack transaction denied email notification will be delivered to the email address submitted. Customers will also not be permitted to download the vehicle accident report(s). Customers are encouraged to go back, by clicking the browser Back button, to re-check the purchase form for a data entry mistake or to use another credit card and try to purchase the report(s) again.

    Figure 4: Denied Transactions due to Data Entry Mistakes
    Denied Transactions due to Data Entry Mistakes Screen snapshot

    Figure 5: Denied Transactions by Card Issuer due to Insufficient Funds Denied Transactions by Card Issuer due to Insufficient Screen snapshot

    If you continue to receive denied transaction messages and you believe that your credit card has sufficient funds, please click the Contact Us link in the header to contact the Montgomery County Police Department. You can also access a frequently asked questions (FAQ) web page to assist with addressing common issues or questions related to the purchase of accident reports on-line by clicking the FAQ link in the header.

    Failed Transactions due to a System Error
    If the transaction has failed due to a Skipjack or Montgomery County system error (i.e. a web server error, a network error, etc...), then the transaction will not be approved, a transaction failed system error email message will appear, and customers will not be permitted to download the vehicle accident report(s). If the error is due to a Skipjack system error, then an email message will be sent to the email address provided indicating that there is a "Skipjack server issue, please try again later". If the error is due to a County system error, then a system error email notification will not be delivered.

    Figure 6: Failed Transactions due to a System Error
    Failed Transactions due to a System Error screen snapshot

    From time to time, system errors will occur. If you continue to receive system error messages, please click the Contact Us link in the header to contact the Montgomery County Police Department. You can also access a frequently asked questions (FAQ) web page to assist with addressing common issues or questions related to the purchase of accident reports on-line by clicking the FAQ link in the header.
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Step 4: Review Order and Download the Vehicle Accident Report(s)

If the transaction was approved, then a Review Order and Download Vehicle Accident page will enable you to review and print your order and payment confirmation in addition to downloading you reports. Although you will be receiving an email confirmation of your purchase, it is strongly recommended that you print a copy of the Review Order and Download Vehicle Accident Report(s) web page for you records as proof of purchase by selecting the Print link. The order information may be useful if you are unable to download the accident report(s). A Vehicle Accident Report Order Review and Download screen sample is provided below:

Figure 7: Vehicle Accident Report Order Review and Download screen
Vehicle Accident Report Order Review and Download screen snapshot image

Opening and Downloading a Vehicle Accident Report(s)

To open and/or download a vehicle accident report(s), follow the steps provided below:

  1. Select the Download Accident Reports button.


    • If a message appears indicating a System Error, please Contact Us, then most likely your web browser application session has timed out. If your payment transaction has been approved and you are unable to download the non-fatal vehicle accident reports, then please select the Contact Us link to contact the Montgomery County Police Department to obtain a copy of the report that you purchased. If possible, please provide your accident report order number, which is provided in the confirmation web page and email, to the County Police customer support representative.


    • If your browser application session is still active, then a dialog box will appear that will prompt you to open, save, or cancel the file download:


Microsoft Internet Explorer Browsers (Version 6.x or better)

Figure 8: Internet Explorer File Download Dialog Box
 Microsoft Internet Explorer Browser File Download Dialog Box screen snapshot

Opening the Report(s) File (Internet Explorer)

  1. Select the Open button in the dialog box to open and download a compressed (zip) file


  2. A zip file will download to a local temporary Internet files directory identified on your computer (i.e. C:\Documents and Settings\user1\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\).


  3. A zip file uncompression utility such as WinZip is required to uncompress the zip file.

    Important Notes
    Microsoft XP and VISTA operating systems have zip file uncompression utilities built-in to their operating systems, so a third party utility may not be required. For more information on free zip file software utilities, please click the following link http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=free+zip+file&aq=f&oq=.

    The zip file contains an accident report or several reports stored as an image or as images in an Adobe PDF file format. As a result, you will also need to install the free Adobe Reader (http://www.adobe.com), if it is not already installed on your computer, to display or print the vehicle accident report(s). To open an accident report, double-click the PDF file presented on in your Windows - My Computer folder. Adobe Reader will open the file for you.


Saving the Report(s) File (Internet Explorer)

  1. To save the file, select the Save button in the File Download dialog box.


  2. Use the Windows Save As dialog box to save and download the accident report zip file to your local computer drive.

    Figure 9: Internet Explorer Save As File Dialog Box
    Internet Explorer Save As File Dialog Box


  3. Click the Save button to save the file or the Cancel button to go back to the Vehicle Accident Report Order Review and Download screen. If you click the Save button, then a File Download status dialog box will inform you when the file has been successfully downloaded.

    Figure 10: Internet Explorer File Download Status Dialog Box
    Internet Explorer File Download Status Dialog Box

Canceling the Report(s) File Download (Internet Explorer)

  1. Select the Cancel button in the Windows File Download dialog box. This will take you back to the Step 4: Review and Download web page


Mozilla Firefox Browsers (Versions 2.x or better)

Figure 11: Firefox File Download Dialog Box
Firefox File Download Dialog Box image

Opening the Report(s) File (Firefox)

  1. Select the Open With radio button in the file dialog box and select the Browse button. The Firefox Choose Application Helper Dialog box will appear.

    Figure 12: Firefox Choose Helper Application Dialog Box
    Firefox Choose Helper Application Dialog Box screen snapshot

  2. Select Winzip or another zip file compatible program and click the OK button to uncompress the report.zip file or click the Cancel button to go back to the File Download Dialog box. Once the report has been uncompressed you will need Adobe Reader to read the vehicle accident report(s).


Saving the Report(s) File (Firefox)

  1. To save the file, select the Save File radio button and click the OK button in the File Download dialog box.


  2. Depending on your Firefox settings, the report.zip file will either be automatically downloaded to your desktop (i.e. C:\Documents and Settings\username\Desktop\.) or the Firefox Save File As Dialog box will enable you to rename and save the report.zip file to a location on any designated local drive


  3. Next, you will need to uncompress the report.zip file using a zip file uncompression utility

    Important Notes
    Microsoft operating systems (XP and Vista) have zip file uncompression utilities built-in to their operating systems, so a third party utility may not be required. For more information on free zip file software utilities, please click the following link http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=free+zip+file&aq=f&oq=.

    The zip file contains an accident report or several reports stored as an image or as images in an Adobe PDF file format. As a result, you will also need to install the free Adobe Reader (http://www.adobe.com), if it is not already installed on your computer, to display or print the vehicle accident report(s). To open an accident report, double-click the PDF file presented on in your Windows - My Computer folder. Adobe Reader will open the file for you.


Canceling the Report(s) File Download (Firefox)

  1. Select the Cancel button in the File Download dialog box. This will take you back to the Step 4: Review and Download screen


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Additional Help and Contact Information

If you require additional assistance, please select the hyperlinks available in the application header to contact the for Montgomery County Police (Contact Us), to display frequently asked questions (FAQs), and/or to access the on-line help document (Help).
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