The Juneau Police Department website has become a model for other departments across the country. And one of its most popular programs has just expanded.
You can now search Ask A Dispatcher by keyword and may be able to get an instant answer. Lieutenant Kris Sell says many of the questions coming in are on similar themes.
“We’re finding that as people are spending more time on the Internet getting something right now is very important. So this allows people to do that on our website,” says Sell. “But if they have a unique situation and prior questions on a similar topic don’t answer their question, then they can write to us and usually within a couple of days we can get an answer back to us.”
Seven key words are now identified on the site, ranging from driving, which has been addressed about 70 times, to fireworks, a popular question around Independence Day and New Year’s.
Ask a Dispatcher started in September 2009. Since then it’s been recognized as cutting edge by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
You can also leave anonymous tips on the JPD website, through the Crime Line link.
“As soon as someone hits send it goes out to several supervisors within the department and we see that right away,” Sell says.
Another feature allows Juneau residents to find out what types of crime are happening in their part of town. Click on Crime Reports and you’ll find a Juneau map.
“Lots of people have expressed an interest in knowing what’s going on in their neighborhoods,” says Sell. “And we have that right at their fingertips where you can go in and see everything that’s going on.”
Sell says department research shows Juneau uses a lot of bandwidth and the theory is to treat everybody like the press. She calls it a by-product of having a “techy” chief. JPD Chief Greg Browning and Sell have made presentations on the JPD website; it has been pointed out at other police administration conferences as a model.