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Police click on website upgrade

Revamp could include user-friendly video and more transparent interface with media and public.

October 25, 2011|By Maria Hsin, maria.hsin@latimes.com

Oversight measures, new commanders and the possibility of more officers — change is a constant at the Burbank Police Department, including, officials say, to its website.

In addition to all the internal changes, police officials say they plan to revamp their major public portal online, including integrating social media to better communicate with residents. As of Tuesday, the most recent crime statistics available online were for 2009 to 2010.

In an interview earlier this year, Police Chief Scott LaChasse said he was working with the city manager’s office to build a new department website, describing the current version as “vanilla” and “not very robust.”

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The department’s home page includes an announcement about parking tickets, a statement from LaChasse, a link to news releases and dates of upcoming Police Commission meetings.

In neighboring Glendale, police post crime reports and arrests, and link to monthly crime statistics and activity through 2006. Daily booking reports show arrests through the previous day, dating to the last six days of December 2010.

The Pasadena Police Department’s website shows calls for service that resulted in a report or arrest through Aug. 12.

Joy Forbes, deputy Burbank city manager, said each department handles their own webpage and said the city’s website went through an upgrade a few years ago.

“We launched the new city website two years ago, it’s a vast improvement — it’s searchable, you can find things,” she said.

Some departments have more staff, or have more information than others to post, she said.

“For the police department, what they want to do is communicate to residents and the press,” she said.

One change could include the use of more video for a more user-friendly experience, especially for residents, Forbes said.

The video could be of LaChasse discussing a major suspect or a notice about mountain lions, she said. The video message could also be used as a recruitment tool for the department.

Deputy Chief Tom Angel said in an email that LaChasse — who was attending a conference in Chicago this week — “was striving to be as transparent and responsive as possible with the public and the media.”

Angel also said that the development of the new website was fluid, and that discussion on what features to incorporate — such as arrest and booking information — was “an ongoing process.”

“It’s definitely not going to be the light switch that suddenly gives us everything we want,” Angel said.

A contract for building the new website could be finalized by the end of the year, he added.

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