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Creating a Presence Online

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 30 Issue: 4 Dated: April 2003 Pages: 88,90,95
Donna Rogers
Date Published
April 2003
7 pages
This article discusses police departments using Web sites as a way to communicate with the public.
Police departments are using Web pages to provide crime statistics, help form partnerships between the community and the police, and in conjunction with e-mail, send neighborhood alerts. Some are using the Internet to bypass the media and ensure delivery of accurate information to the public. Others use the Web to share missing person reports, criminal justice data among departments, and solve serial crimes. Web sites can provide information services that include arrest records from the correction center, human resources data, civil sales, community calendar, and others. While other media outlets provide limited information, the Web site provides data in a fuller context. Neighborhood partnerships are a huge beneficiary of Web sites. A Web site can target recruitment efforts as well. Web sites can encompass courts, police, sheriff, fire-EMS, public works, social services, transportation, utilities, and more. Appropriate business professionals, such as victim’s attorneys and insurance companies can view accident reports online. The public’s ability to surf the Internet for crime mapping statistics in real time seems to be a future trend. A community resident can select his/her home address on a city map and search all crimes within a time period from a certain radius of his/her home. Subscription services can also be available to provide notification regarding sex offenders, housing, arrests, and direct the person to the Web site for further information. List services can be used to send out notifications of department events, community meetings, changes in procedure, weather updates, and information regarding road and school closings. The new Web portal helps communications staff become more productive.