This is the first in my series this week about some fairly simple and quick ideas for a new crime analysis unit or a new analyst.
Make a weekly slide show with PowerPoint, containing mugshots of a few people that your police officers ought to become familiar with. This might be a frequent flyer, a recently-released prolific offender, a dangerous character with fresh intelligence information, or a wanted subject that officers might unknowingly encounter. While it wouldn't have to be limited to mugshots, that's an easy place to start.
Loop the slideshow, and plop it onto a screen that officers will see: the assembly room where officers gather for roll call at the beginning of the shift would be ideal. The break room or the report room would be other possibilities. There might be an unused hand-me-down computer in a closet somewhere around the department that would work satisfactorily. If not, a low-end desktop with a 24" monitor would suffice for well under a grand.
I'd really like you to get an even bigger monitor to mount on the wall, and a good wireless keyboard and mouse, because you will eventually want to use this equipment for another purpose. There are four 60" monitors in Lincoln's assembly room, and I saw a wall-full at the Los Angeles Police Department, but in Grand Island one would do the job. I just bought a 52 inch LED for the family room for $600 at Sam's Club, and it looked great streaming the family photos at Easter. It would work just fine in Grand Island. In a city of 50,000, I imagine that somewhere between 3 and 8 officers are typically coming on duty at shift change, depending on the time and day. A set up similar to the Council Bluffs Iowa Police Department's assembly room would be perfect for such a group.
Your slide show can just run continuously when the computer and monitor are not being usedfor other purposes. Keep the number of slides low, and resist the temptation to pack it with more information. Sometimes less is more. I'd recommend four to six mugshots--no more. Use a dark slide background, light-colored text, a subtle transition, a big font, and very few words:
Luke N. Long
Blue F-150, BENCNU
A place of your own