Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A place of your own

Create a place of your own, an informational website for the use of your police department. There are tons of websites that are useful for police officers. Most are public. Here in Nebraska, for example, you've got such things as the State Sex Offender Registry, the Department of Correctional Services Inmate Locator, the Nebraska State Statutes, the State employee directory, and the Department of Roads  highway cameras.

You need not guess what a blue triangular pill might be, wonder whether the VIN checks out, what an Oregon license plate looks like, whether a Fusion's taillights are round, what the name of that street is just to the west of West Lawn Elementary School who owns the house at 1432 Howard PL, or what's coming up on the training calendar.

This, of course, is barely scratching the surface. Everyone on the department has links they find useful in their browser's favorites folder. What sites do some of your officers, detectives, and sergeants find helpful? What sites has Deputy Chief Steve Smith bookmarked on his desktop in Anchorage? Ask around, and winnow the wheat from the chaf. You could gather up all those links, create a page full of them, plop it on a City web server, and point all the department PCs at that link as the browers' home page. Then, everyone would have the benefit of access to these useful sites.

It's easier than you think to build such a page, even if you can't afford Dreamweaver, and don't have time to take the class. If you gathered up the links in advance, you could ask around the faculty lounge at Grand Island High School, and identify a sharp student could make your page in an afternoon. And I guarantee you that one of those kids down the street at Central Community College taking INFO 1500 would be excited to do this, just for the benefit of being able to put this paragraph on his or her personal resume:
2013:  Intern, Grand Island Police Department   
Assigned to Crime Analysis Unit. Designed and implemented website for department's law enforcement Intranet. 

Keep it simple: nobody needs fancy-pants graphics or Flash. I want your page to work in any browser, and to wrap onto the small screen of a Kindle Fire or iPhone without much problem. Trust me, you can really do this. Basic HTML is a breeze, and you can learn it fast on the web at a million and one online tutorials.  You will quickly learn the secret to all computer programming is cut 'n paste.

Since your page 'o links would be composed of public web sites at the outset, security would not be an issue. It would, however, be even better if your City IT department would help you find some secure web space as the landing spot for an Intranet site. In the future, you're going to want to develop some of your own resources that will require that you control access to the content with basic security.  We're not talking about the blue prints to a nuclear reactor here, but you won't want the general public to be accessing things like the forms library you'll be creating on that site later this year, or your archive of crime bulletins coming up tomorrow.

The Series:

Impromptu visit
Weekly slideshow
A place of your own
Better bulletins
Easy maps

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Not related, but timely: It's the season for a huge upswing in LFA from the trailhead parking lots (and everywhere else), theft of unsecured bikes, and larvenies from buildings accessed through unlocked windows/sliding doors, etc etc etc. Don't get careless just because it's warming up.