COLUMBIA – An interactive map that shows when and where crimes have occurred is one of the new features of the Boone County Sheriff's Department Web site, which was unveiled Monday.
The new site is intended to be more user-friendly and make it easier for county residents to find information they need — or just want. The site features new FAQs, or frequently asked questions, about the jail and visitation procedures, getting a permit to carry a concealed weapon and bond information.
The Boone County Sheriff's Department has a new program: You can now apply to ride along with sheriff deputies on patrol. The application can be downloaded for the department's new Web site and is meant to help the public understand what a sheriff's deputy does. Wear comfortable shoes.
Some of the information on the site was previously available via a phone menu, said Chief Warren Brewer, part of the jail administration team. But "no one wants to listen to the phone," he said.
The site's new domain name, boonecountymo.org/sheriff/, relates more closely to the sheriff's department — instead of more broadly to the county — and should be easier for people to find, James Barnes, the site's developer, said.
The changes came about through conversations between Barnes and Sheriff Dwayne Carey, who has wanted to update the site for some time.
“(Sheriff Carey) wanted to create a more contemporary and more user-friendly Web site that provided additional information not there before,” Maj. Tom Reddin said.
The real work began late last year to develop and update the site, as well as make it more complete.
“The look and feel of the Web site has been modernized, and navigation has been simplified,” Barnes said.
The incident mapping feature on the site's home page has been available since 2005 but was hard to find and had few hits, Barnes said. Since it was given a new face and position on the site in late August, it has been heavily used.
A photo gallery of sheriff's department employees and what each does for the agency has been added to the bottom of the home page.
The site also includes links to live data on current jail inmates, the 07:00 report, which includes a list of people booked into the jail from 7 a.m. to the following 7 a.m., and felony warrants.
The sheriff's department also hopes the enhanced site will be a recruiting tool.
"Before, people weren't wowed," Reddin said.