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Royal Oak

December 4, 2013

City updates gem ordinance

By Robert Guttersohn
C & G Staff Writer

ROYAL OAK — The City Commission finalized changes to the city’s precious metal and gems ordinance Nov. 18 that Police Chief Corey O’Donohue says will make investigations into possible stolen goods much easier.

The changes to the ordinance now require precious gems and metals dealers, and pawnbrokers within the city to submit all transactions they make to an online database.

Before approval of the ordinance, the city required dealers to submit actual copies of each transaction to the Police Department within 48 hours via mail.

O’Donohue described the switch at the Nov. 11 meeting — when the commission approved the ordinance’s first reading — as going from a “snail-mail-type system to an electronic-submission system.”

He added that several dealers had requested the change.

“It actually makes their lives easier,” O’Donohue said.

There is no charge to the city or the dealers for each submittal.

Oakland County’s Courts and Law Enforcement Management Information System contracts with the third-party company LeadsOnline to provide the city with the database, according to a memo attached to the ordinance.

The company already provides investigators from more than 2,500 law enforcement agencies across the country with access to electronic records from dealers.

LeadsOnline provides “a huge database that is open to our investigators that makes any kind of an investigation into stolen property or (breaking-and-entering incidents) much simpler,” O’Donohue said. “It takes a lot of legwork out of those investigations.”

Commission members expressed concerns Nov. 11 over the changes to the ordinance possibly affecting businesses and those holding estate sales. O’Donohue reassured them that the rules only deal with brokers buying from someone coming into their store.

Both readings of the ordinance were passed unanimously.

“It’s not that we have compliance issues,” Commissioner Mike Fournier said before voting Nov. 11. “It’s just that this is going to make everyone’s lives easier.”

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Robert Guttersohn at rguttersohn@candgnews.com or at (586)218-5006.