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Web pages leading to new chapter in county law enforcement

June 01, 1997

By MARLO BARNHART

Staff Writer

When the Washington County Sheriff's Department got the opportunity to hitch a ride into the 21st century, the decision was made to go it alone.

The department now has its own site on the World Wide Web and is rapidly expanding its influence and capabilities, according to Sgt. Doug Mullendore.

The offer to connect to the Washington County government's site allowed only two pages for the Sheriff's Department, Mullendore said.

"For just $250 a year and the cost of my time, we have set up our own website so we could expand on what we can do,'' Mullendore said.

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FredNet is the Internet provider the Sheriff's Department is using, he said. Since the system went online in late March, there have been 166 "hits'' or inquiries into the site.

"One of those was from former deputy Robert Myers, now teaching in Florida, who said he was exploring the Internet when he ran across our website," Mullendore said.

After the welcome page describing the department and the duties of the sheriff, the traveler goes to a menu that includes a telephone directory, information about patrol, detention and judicial services and training/employment opportunities.

Further into the system, there is information and statistics on the resident deputy program, traffic/criminal matters, and Children's Village and other community oriented programs.

Mullendore has punched in information on Neighborhood Watch programs, DARE and the domestic violence team.

In each instance, information is available on how to access those services.

"We also have a section about Triad and the SALT council," he said, referring to a program in which deputies and senior citizens work together to prevent crime among older citizens.

Eventually, he wants to expand the capabilities to include a nationwide job search for recruiting new employees.

Even in its early stages, there was enough information to prompt an inquiry from a Washington, D.C., couple who are in law enforcement and looking for information on the area, Mullendore said.

"Someday, I hope we can have a system where a person can report a crime that happened while traveling through our area after they return home,'' he said.

And then there could be a case where local police have a New York warrant for a person and a photo could be sent in an instant, he said.

While there is no interaction yet between city, county and state police via the Internet in Washington County, that could come soon, Mullendore said.

"I can scan other agencies' training program, see what works and what doesn't," he said. Or he can check out any number of grants for those available locally.

As for security in the system, Mullendore said he alone has access to make changes.

A self-taught computer whiz, he said he is only limited by his time and his imagination.

The site can be found at (http://www.fred.net/sheriff).

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