This issue profiles the Bergen County (NJ) Sheriff's Office's "FaceCrook," which enables inmates to provide anonymous tips using their secure computer and telephone access.
The concept stemmed from the realization that inmates have a wealth of knowledge about crimes that have occurred both inside and outside of jail. Bergen County launched the program with a beta test in two living areas and then expanded it to the 900 inmates and 22 living areas in the system. On the first day of full system use, administrators received just over a dozen tips. Just over 60 arrests have resulted from information received on "FaceCrook" from both inmates and community residents. On "FaceCrook" the public can view an online "pushpin" map and find out about fugitives who live or have lived nearby. Users can search by name, street address, town, and ZIP code, and learn about individuals with outstanding warrants generated in Bergen County. The sheriff's office paid $17.00 for the URL and the site name. Information technology (IT) staff determined the fields necessary to create a Google Maps interface. "FaceCrook" uses a living space platform and an Oracle enterprise database, populated by a daily flat file dump. The sheriff's office is now engaged in expanding access to and use by other counties in the State. No new software or hardware is required for anyone who wishes to become a partner. The sheriff's office envisions this system going nationwide, with different access levels for law enforcement agencies, the public, and inmates.
Date Published: January 1, 2013