What's Happening at The Porter County Sheriff's
Porter County Sheriff .com Wins Award
U.S. Department of Justice says
Web site should serve as model for others
VALPARAISO -- The U.S. Department of
Justice likes to see local police departments come up
with innovative ways to fight crime and reach out to the
BY KEN KOSKY Times Staff Writer
The Justice Department thinks the Porter County
Sheriff's Department accomplished both missions with its
Web site -- www.portercountysheriff.com. As a result,
the Justice Department and the Law Enforcement
Coordinating Committee this week presented Porter County
Sheriff David Reynolds with an Exemplary Law Enforcement
Program Award. It was one of only three such awards
given out in the northern third of the state. "The Sheriff's Department received (the award) for the innovative and
effective use of the Internet and a Web site to communicate with the public and
vice versa," said David Capp, U.S. attorney for the Northern District. "A number
of people told me the Web site is far and away the leading law enforcement Web
site in the state of Indiana." Reynolds said his department's Web site features information that can
definitely help the public, like tips for senior citizens who want to avoid
being crime victims. It also publicizes the Safe Schools Hot-Line, has a list of
wanted felons and has a sex offender registry. It also lets the public get to know the police department, with photographs
of the officers and explanations of the specialty units like the SWAT Team. Most
importantly, the public can e-mail the sheriff with suggestions or crime tips. The Web page was put together and is updated by dispatcher Chris Sears.
"Without question, we would not have this caliber of Web page if not for
Chris Sears," Reynolds said.
"What makes it responsive to the public is it's updated almost every day. ...
The worst thing you can do is put together a Web page and never update it."
The Web site has received 30,000 hits in the two years it has been