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Citizens’ Briefing section added to Cape police website

By Staff | Mar 22, 2011

Cape Coral residents can now find their own daily briefing online thanks to the addition of a new feature to the police department’s website.
The Cape Coral Police Department launched the Citizens’ Briefing section on its site, www.capecops.com, Tuesday. The feature will offer daily arrests and incidents of note broken down by district, court case decisions, potential scams and other police programs and their outcomes.
Lt. Tony Sizemore, spokesman for the CCPD, said the addition is the result of feedback provided by residents during the recent Community Engagement Forum that the department hosted. Citizens were very vocal regarding public information, specifically crime trends, court decisions and other police news.
“They wanted almost a public version of a police officer’s role call,” he said.
Some things that will not make the Citizens’ Briefing include information that could compromise an ongoing investigation. For example, if the department is conducting a surveillance operation at a location for several months, that will not make the online briefing.
Also, in domestic violence arrests, ages but not names will be used.
“We didn’t feel that that was the classiest move,” Sizemore said. “It’s not a gossip page.”
He explained that the website addition is important because people want it.
“They live in the city, they have a vested interest in keeping this a nice city,” Sizemore said. “And people want to be involved in police work.”
The request was simple enough to grant for residents, as well.
“This was a suggestion at the Community Engagement Forum that was easily implemented at no cost and allows us to be responsive to the community desire for more information,” Interim Police Chief Jay Murphy wrote in an e-mail.
According to Sizemore, the police department is working toward making its website user friendly for the public, including soon adding an interactive map that people can use to find out what is going on within the Cape in real time.
“Our goal is to make our home page your patrol car,” he said.
The Community Engagement Forum, held March 5, was hosted in conjunction with the Florida Institute of Government and Florida Gulf Coast University.
“The role of public information was valued by the participants and they requested more information, not less via media reports, online postings through social media networks and e-mail,” Dr. Jennifer James-Mesloh of Florida Gulf Coast University wrote in a prepared statement.
The final report complied by James-Mesloh is online at: www.capecops.com.