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Technology Talk

Web-Based Interface Supports Community Policing and Drives Part 1 Crime Down

By David Webb, Chief of Police, Hanover Park Police Department, Hanover, Illinois; and Todd Carlson, Crime Analyst, Hanover Park Police Department, Hanover, Illinois

IACP/iXP Excellence in Technology Winners

The IACP/iXP Excellence in Technology Award Program recognizes the Village of Hanover Park, Illinois, for its initiative to improve information sharing. HPPD implemented a new community policing initiative that merges with its intelligencedriven approach to fighting crime. The result was a web platform that is inexpensive and has a simple interface with the information officers need at their fingertips in the form of a secure department web portal. The website allows all this information to be found in one basic location.

Left to right: Joe Estey, Past IACP President and Deputy Director Operations and HR, ChatComm, representing iXP Corporation; Mark Gatz, Deputy Chief of Police-Operations, Hanover Park, Illinois, Police Department; Todd Carlson, Officer, Hanover Park, Illinois, Police Department; David Webb, Chief of Police, Hanover Park, Illinois, Police Department; Mark Marshall, IACP President and Chief of Police, Smithfield, Virginia, Police Department; and Greg Browning, Chief of Police, Juneau, Alaska, Police Department and Chair of the IACP LEIM Section.

n today’s law enforcement environment, it is vitally important to give police officers as many tools as possible to get the job done efficiently. The key to successful community policing is communication. Information needs to be shared across all lines of the organization. The challenge becomes even greater for police organizations because of the 24 hours a day, 7 days a week operation with personnel assigned to patrol, investigations, gang enforcement, crime prevention, and so on. Another challenge involves 12-hour shifts where interaction between teams of officers is difficult. In order to meet these challenges, it is important to maximize the amount of resources available to officers in their mobile offices—commonly referred to as their squad cars.

This was especially true at the Hanover Park, Illinois, Police Department when it implemented a new community policing initiative to merge with its current intelligence-driven approach to fighting crime. The initiative involves assigning officers to areas for one-year periods. Command staff wanted to increase the amount of information available to the officers when on patrol or investigating criminal activity to improve their chances of success, allowing them to stay in the field rather then come into the station to retrieve needed information. The department also wanted to give officers the ability to share information to improve their working knowledge while patrolling their assigned areas. What resulted was the use of a web platform that was inexpensive, had a simple interface, and had the information officers need at their fingertips in the form of a department “website.” The website allowed all this information to be found in one basic location. The web pages were created using Microsoft SharePoint, which is a designed web interface. The website allows police department personnel to access documents, policies, memorandums, announcements, intelligence bulletins, email, village databases and post information from their squad car, office desktop, and/or home computer.

The main page (see figure 1) is organized into the following sections: Common Web-links, Department Announcements, Public Documents, Daily Officer Activity, Police Department Databases, and Patrol Beat Discussion. In a glance, the officers can see any new announcements; review a new memo, policy, or intelligence bulletin; get information quickly from a website; and, then, move on to patrol their sections for further detailed information. In Hanover Park, officers are on 12-hour shifts, and six community patrol beats exist across all shifts. As a result, six patrol links were created. These links have several features where beat officers are able to communicate across all shifts and patrol teams. Each beat has a document storage area, announcement area, calendar, and discussion board. This enables beat officers to communicate about issues affecting their beats and other issues. In addition, they can save any document that is pertinent to their beats like neighborhood block captains, watch members, elected officials, and so on.

Figure 1: Main Page “Use”
Image courtesy of the Hanover, Illinois, Police Department

In addition to the main page, other tabs were created for other disciplines in the department. One such tab in particular is the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) tab. The department wanted all the officers and supervisors to be able to easily reference a directive anywhere at any time. Officers can simply click on the CALEA tab and chose a directive to view it or recent updates to it.

Figure 2: CALEA Tab
Image courtesy of the Hanover, Illinois, Police Department

An important feature that was incorporated was the ability to allow officers to enter and track problems affecting their beats. The web page does this using a feature called a “list.” A list functions like a spreadsheet but has more robust features. Officers are able to enter beat problems and incidents. Other officers, together with the initiating officer, then work on the problems until they are resolved. Once the problem is entered, the web page is set up to automatically email the officers and supervisor assigned to the respective beats. Any updates that are entered are also emailed to the beat officers and supervisor. This makes tracking problems and how officers respond easy. It is a great community policing tool.

Community policing initiatives continue today in many communities, and departments that utilize technology can increase their chances for success by getting available information to officers on the street. Web-based interfaces are great tools, and departments that implement this web-based technology correctly can increase communication and shape their department’s intelligence and response. The use of this technology, along with our new hybrid of adding a community policing element to our intelligence-driven style, played a large role in reducing the Village of Hanover Park’s Part 1 crime rate in 2010 to its lowest level in the history of the police department. ■

Please cite as:

David Webb and Todd Carlson, "Web-Based Interface Supports Community Policing and Drives Part 1 Crime Down," Technology Talk, The Police Chief 78 (August 2011): 112.

Click to view the digital edition.



From The Police Chief, vol. LXXVIII, no. 8, August 2011. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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