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Where Users Aren't Losers

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This article describes the features of a class that instructs criminal justice practitioners in how the Internet can be used efficiently and effectively in their jobs.

The class first reviews the history of the Internet's development and evolution over the years. Next, the instructor demonstrates the procedure for obtaining information on a specific subject. This includes an introduction to a variety of "search engines" and a strategy for structuring a search. A series of exercises helps the class learn which search engines are most effective in various searches. An extensive amount of class time is devoted to the practice of searching techniques. Another class component consists of a "tour" of several criminal justice agencies' World Wide Web sites, so as to illustrate the various way agencies use the Internet to dispense and solicit information. Students are also introduced to the variety of Internet tools and resources that are useful in conducting investigations, including online calculators to assist in traffic accident investigations, crime-scene evidence collection, crime mapping, missing persons searches, explosive information, fraud and scams, and unsolved crimes. The class concludes with a review of Internet resources for conducting research on criminal justice issues. The class is offered by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center-Rocky Mountain as a free service. A diskette with class material is available at no charge for those who are unable to attend a class.

Date Published: January 1, 1999