As a result of feedback from some of our citizen Block Watch members, we developed a pilot project with the use of e-mail messaging. The program began in January 2000 and was first limited to participating Block Watch Captains and designated members. The initiative was an immediate success!

The original plan included an emphasis on a timely response to current issues by our Division's First Police District officers. We sought to address quality-of-life complaints that could be handled through telephone calls or assignment to a uniform street platoon officer. The process worked very well, many times bypassing the wait for the next Block Watch meeting or repeated telephone calls to other areas in order to locate the right agency to address the problem.

By virtue of a no-cost Internet communication system, we were able to provide a timely response that had previously not been achieved in any other area. With the success of our limited effort, we then began to solicit contact from all of the District citizens. We continued to distribute our e-mail address during monthly Block Watch and Neighborhood Association meetings, school functions and local festivals. Again the response was both rewarding and sometimes overwhelming.

The next level of exchange was achieved by virtue of advisory bulletins. We began sending attached documents by group e-mail concerning recent crime issues, a composite of a wanted suspect or crime prevention topics. Our feedback has been positive at every step.

The second phase of the project is now under development. Our plan involves creating "hot links" to "html" pages through the Division's directory! Upon completion, our citizens will be able to visit the First Police District's section of the Division's website, then access the latest crime bulletin, CrimStat data, a wanted person composite or our e-mail address with a simple mouse click! In addition, we will feature digital photos of our recent meetings and presentations.

This has truly been an exciting initiative that has resulted in a very positive change in the way we serve our citizens. Our limitations are bound only by our imagination.


Major Michael Dossett

Assistant Chief of Police

Commander First Police District