I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome you to the Douglas County Sheriff's Office's new web site and tell you a little bit about how it came to be and what I envision for the site and the e-newsletter.
Late last summer we had a rash of copper telephone wire thefts. We also had a surveillance photo of the thief. As we stood in the hallway looking at that picture on the bulletin board trying to put a name to it, somebody said “…why don’t you post it on Facebook…”
In the past, if we wanted to get something out to the public, we’d type up a news release and fax it to the local media outlets (yeah, a fax). Maybe they would run it, maybe they wouldn’t. Within an hour of starting a brand new Facebook page and posting that picture, over a thousand people viewed it, dozens commented, and by the end of the day we had that guy identified. What a powerful tool!
We used the Facebook page occasionally over the next few months to some success but thought there was so much more we could do. We decided to take it up a notch and the result is the website you are viewing now. While there are still a couple of features we will be adding shortly such as the inmate roster and releases, last inmate booked, and active warrants, there should be enough here to keep you busy for a while.
We are now operating under the mantra that an informed public is a safer public. The criminal element is more powerful when it can operate with anonymity. That anonymity has been dealt a serious blow. Want to see who the criminals are? Just visit the Sheriff’s Website.
Let’s talk about some of the features of the site. I already mentioned the inmate rosters. You will be able to see a photo and charge information on all persons currently housed in the Douglas County Jail, as well as those released during the prior 48 hours. The last inmate booked into the jail will be shown on the homepage.
Douglas County currently has over three thousand active arrest warrants outstanding ranging from serious felony warrants to jaywalking fines. Those warrants and photos (if available) will be posted on the site. There’s even a special category for those with warrants for failing to support their children.
Think there aren’t that many sex offenders living in the community? Click the Sex Offender link to bring up a pin map. Click the name or a balloon for the offender’s photo and information. Think that’s too harsh and we’re violating somebody’s privacy? Nope. The law states you have a right to know, and now you will.
The Crash Log shows a pin map of all traffic crashes investigated by the Sheriff’s Office. Click a balloon to view that crash’s information.
Under the Departments tab are various areas of interest and activities carried out by the Sheriff’s Office personnel. Check back often as that content is updated.
In the past, we’ve had an internal monthly newsletter intended to disseminate information within the sheriff’s office itself. The e-newsletter is new ground for us. I see it as a way of discussing matters of public interest, matters of public safety or the activities of the office in general that may not warrant a full blown press release. The newsletter may also contain information and commentaries on issues being debated in state and county government forums that affect the Sheriff’s Office, law enforcement in general, or even the public at large. Occasionally, the Sheriff and I have strong opinions on various issues being publicly debated but often do not have a forum in which to clearly express those views in detail. This newsletter will provide such a forum for those interested in hearing those views.
Finally, I’d like to invite everybody to sign up for e-mail and/or text message alerts. You can choose the categories that you would like to receive. There is an option at the top of the page that makes it ideal for reading on a mobile device. Keep up to date with what’s going on, and who we’re looking for. We have only a limited number of eyes, but with your help we can all make a difference.
Gerald Moe, Chief Deputy