University of California police used a non-traditional method to identify people who threw rocks and bottles at them after the big game at Stanford last November. They posted photos of the suspects on the department’s web site.
Lt. Adan Tejada, who heads the department’s community outreach said, Cal police announced a crime alert and asked respondents to provide names to match the photos.
Five of the eight people pictured on the department’s web site (police.berkeley.edu) were identified by web site visitors, and two of the identified rock throwers turned themselves in because they wanted their pictures removed from the site.
Tejada said the five-year-old web site is one of the key tools in community policing and the web site could be used again along with a crime alert to say to visitors, “help us out.”
A box on the site tells visitors how they can turn in crime tips anonymously. The more the community is involved in helping the department protect the campus, the more effective it will be, Tejada believes.
The public version of the daily police bulletin filed under daily activities is an update for those residents, merchants, students or parents who want to be on top of campus security information.
Tejada said community policing is essential for alerting the young campus population that turns over every four years. Undergrads can be naïve about life in an urban area. Tejada noted that the neighborhoods around the campus are among the most densely populated in Northern California.
The department has spent time, effort and money to make the site user friendly and up-to-date. Links break, new information must be added. It’s an evolving process.
Tejada said the web site originated in 1995 after the department realized it needed electronic visibility. He was a sergeant then and one of his jobs was to put the pieces together.
He was “relatively computer literate” at the time and did the writing, but he downplays his graphic sensibility.
He said the web site received finishing touches from Tiye Scott, now with Netnoir.com in San Francisco. She took the project from its rudimentary stages to a more sophisticated presentation.
UCPD Chief Victoria Harrison liked the project from the beginning, he said. She decided to put the web site address on the patrol cars, a new wave that displeased both traditionalists and technophobes.
At first the web site had about five large rectangles representing different areas of service for police and parking and campus safety that took visitors into text dense pages, a somewhat primitive design.
Little things like the badge or star were big, and smaller screens necessitated scrolling up to get to links. Now the police section of the site has more than 500 different files and the transit web page has more than 100 files. “You can get all kinds of stuff on it,” he said.
Priscilla Kalugdan is webmaster, and also manager of Marketing, Publications and Safety. Tejada said she’s currently looking to hire a full-time webmaster.
The site not only provides police data like its annual report of crime statistics that can be downloaded, but also access to parking and transportation information.
Applications for parking permits can be downloaded.
Users can sign themselves on for list serve e-mail and automatically receive crime alert bulletins. Tejada said the department sends and receives e-mail from all over the world.
Another interesting item is its Daily Bulletin. In just a couple of clicks, visitors can view the public version of the log of officer’s stops that is, of course, updated daily.