Inside San Diego
Stories about City Services, Employees, Residents and Communities
Following a major overhaul of its online presence, the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) launched a new website that lays out public safety services, resources and transparency more clearly for San Diego residents and visitors.
”One of my key priorities is to make all of the City of San Diego’s resources easily accessible to the public, and this new website is part of that effort,” Mayor Gloria said. “The site also demonstrates the department’s commitment to transparency and accountability, which is crucial to maintaining trust with the community,” At the request of Police Chief David Nisleit and in alignment with Mayor Gloria’s goals surrounding transparency and accessibility of city government, the City’s Communications Department and Department of Information Technology Web Team collaborated with the SDPD Media Services Unit to take on the task of updating the SDPD website, which had not been substantially upgraded for several years.
“For years, I’ve envisioned our website being a place where residents could go for learning how to report a crime or about all the work that our teams do to keep our city safe,” Chief Nisleit said. “From those answering the calls to officers in the field to community members in need, this new site is now a user-friendly asset that will improve operations and public information for years to come.”
The Police Department’s website serves as a critical public safety tool for residents and visitors. Updating the website allows SDPD to promote key resources and make it more customer-service oriented.
The team’s goal was to create a useful tool for services and programs offered by SDPD, to highlight existing publicly posted documents and data to promote accountability and transparency, and to transition from operations-based content to a topic-based model.
The team evaluated current pages that people frequently visit, reviewed other agency sites regionally and nationally to identify best practices, and worked with various SDPD units on content development and review for accuracy.
The new SDPD site features several improvements including:
• Transition to topic-based information: Cities and police departments often tend to structure information based on what department or unit oversees it. This can lead to information not being easy to find by the end-user. In aligning with other departments, SDPD transitioned its content to a topic-based model so that if a person is looking for information on a certain topic such as abuse, obtaining a report, traffic accidents or tickets, etc. they can easily find it.
• Making it more visually appealing: The teams took a less-is-more approach, focusing on the content that residents really need to know. They also created repeating features to call out similar types of information. For example: there is a standard feature on pages where filing a report for that topic might be necessary.
• Creating fillable, online forms: The website now has forms that can be easily filled out and submitted to the appropriate parties for forms that previously were only available in pdf format to be mailed or physically turned in. New digital forms include ride-along requests, thanking an officer, filing a complaint, requesting a vacation house check or you are not alone welfare check.
• Greater transparency and accountability: The department now has a tab dedicated to data and transparency. It houses information on policies and procedures and mandated disclosures for documents or information that are mandated by state or local legislation. It will also have a process for community input on draft procedures before they are finalized, critical incident videos and more.
The revitalization of the SDPD website is just the beginning of how the department plans to leverage its online presence to better inform the public. SDPD is already exploring additional improvements that can be made to provide greater insight into the department.