FLINT TWP. — Visitors to the Flint Township Police Department website will be seeing things a little differently.
The department unveiled a revamped website April 5 that includes several new features, according to Chief Kevin Salter. The new website includes such features as a request form for vacation house checks, a request for radar speed signs and a form to commend members of the department on a job well done.
Officer John Chisa and Melanie Jones, an assistant in the detective bureau, worked together on updating the site and making it more efficient and easier to use for residents.
“The old one was really outdated looks-wise and feature-wise,” Jones said. “The new one has a live Facebook feed that goes directly to our Facebook page, and people like that. It’s a source for people to fill out forms instead of filling them out by paper.”
The vacation house check form allows police to know when residents are out of town for extended periods of time. Officers can drive by the residence while it is vacant, look for signs of break-ins or other trouble and be able to contact the residents in case of an emergency. The service is not provided if residents are using a house sitter, but people can request an extra patrol.
Extra patrol requests are also available if residents are concerned about criminal or suspicious activity in their area. The requests are used to inform the department of consistent neighborhood issues that are not an emergency, such as groups of disorderly people who regularly hang out on street corners. Extra patrols also can be requested for special community events so officers can provide extra security.
Residents can request a mobile radar unit if speeding is a problem in their neighborhood. The department recently was given approval to buy two new units. The new units store data including the speed of passing vehicles and shows the speed on a large LED panel. Use of the portable radar has been effective in reducing speed, Salter said.
These features are found under the Community Services tab, along with information about Flint Township Neighborhood Watch and prescription drug collection boxes for unused, unwanted or expired medication in pill form only.
“This saves us time on the phone with our dispatchers,” Chisa said. “Requests go directly to the people it needs to go to. The old website had pictures on it from 15 to 20 years ago, and a lot of those people don’t work here anymore, so that’s all been updated.”
Jones said another new feature is the revolving photo on the site’s home page. She said that space can be used to show photos of police officers involved in township events, so they can be seen in another capacity around the community.
The Commend an Employee feature is found under the Resources tab and is used to point out the outstanding work of department employees. Residents are asked to include the date and location of the incident. If they don’t know the employee’s name, they are asked to describe the employee and the actions or demeanor they appreciated.
The Resources tab also includes options to order crash reports online, criminal code ordinances, a map of Flint Township, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request form, FOIA appeal denial of records form and a FOIA appeal excess fee form.
“The interaction with the community has been great,” Chisa said. “People started requesting the radar trailer and vacation checks pretty quick, and we’re getting more requests than before. People just don’t like the phone call. They expect things to be done online. They appreciate that.”
To see the new website, visit https:// flinttownshippolice.org.