Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Web Site Gives Public Easier Access to Sheriff

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Web Site Gives Public Easier Access to Sheriff

Article excerpt

The computer age has opened up a new avenue for people anywhere

in the world to communicate with the Clay County Sheriff's

Office.

A new web site on the Internet -- www.claysheriff.com -- allows

computer users to e-mail Sheriff Scott Lancaster, scan Clay

County's Top 10 Most Wanted list, find out if convicted sexual

predators live in their neighborhood and receive information

about applying for jobs and other topics.

Lt. Joe Hutcheson, support services director and web page

coordinator, said information on the site will be updated

regularly.

"More and more people are signing on to the Internet,"

Hutcheson said. "This is just one more way of us communicating

to the public and for them to communicate back to us."

While the page has been accessed, or "hit," only a few hundred

times since it went on line in June, Hutcheson said he expects

usage to increase greatly as public awareness grows.

"It's going to get a lot of hits," he said. "I would expect it

to jump up to 10,000 to 12,000 a year."

People who access the home page aren't limited to learning only

about the Clay County Sheriff's Office. It contains information

about state, federal and international law enforcement agencies

as well, Hutcheson said.

By clicking on a box called LINKS, he said, users can read

about the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Florida

Sheriff's Association, FBI, Interpol, Scotland Yard or the

Canadian Mounted Police.

And more features will be added to the home page in the future,

Hutcheson said.

"We built it as best we can," he said. "Now, we're at the point

of just trying to improve it.

"One thing we plan to do is put a county map in there so that

people can click on certain sections of the county to find out

what kinds of crimes are happening there, how many calls are

being generated, and so forth."

Hutcheson said the web site was designed for the sheriff's

office by First Coast InfoServices, a division of the Clay

County Association for the Retarded designed to help train

mildly retarded adults.

"They did a great job with the graphics," he said. "We even

have a rotating star. That's very unique."

He said Clay's Most Wanted has been the "most accessed" box on

the page so far, followed by Meet the Sheriff and From the Desk

of the Sheriff.

Lancaster said the new program could become a "great tool" in

the war on crime, even though it's limited to people with access

to the Internet.

"I think it's one more step in the partnership we're trying to

build in the community and our crime prevention efforts," he

said. "Information is what solves crime, and the more we can

communicate with people out there, obviously, the more crime we

can solve. …

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