Lightray was awarded the contract to overhaul the LAPD website and branding in a competitive bidding process.
SITUATION: The LAPD serves approximately 3.8 million residents in an area encompassing 467 square miles and 18 communities. For the previous six years, a four officer unite had updated the website manually. It had become 10,000 sprawling pages of non-database driven information.
SOLUTIONS: Lightray’s first step was to provide the department with a new look and feel to reflect Chief Bratton’s new leadership. A visual audit, and branding analysis was conducted. The results were a new logo, streamlined materials and a face-lift for the existing site within the first eight weeks of the project.
Simultaneously, Lightray performed a critical analysis of the existing content — of what should be most prominent, what would be updated most often, and how the language of the site could be translated from “cop talk” to the general public. The online unit needed to be able to update the information easily without the need of a webmaster.
Since the LAPD serves such a large territory, there is a high risk of the public not feeling connected to the officers who serve them. The site needed to emphasize neighborhoods, instead of divisions, so that visitors would have a direct connection and interest with how crime was impacting them directly, as well as how law enforcement was specifically serving them. Lightray created a cross-relational database that would allow people to find their officers by looking up their neighborhood first.
RESULTS: The visual refresh was a tremendous success, doubling traffic within the first year.
Previously, crime statistics were relayed via COMPSTAT, a spreadsheet familiar to the department but not easily interpreted by a public unfamiliar with the system. It was clear that the key to getting people engaged in safety was to make them aware of crime. It had to be easy to use and updated daily. Visits to the site quadrupled after the crime maps launch. www.lapdcrimemaps.org
Lightray worked closely with division Captains to learn that officers wanted a way to easily email their constituents. They were savvy enough to set up their own lists, but it was clear that they needed a department-wide solution that collected emails in one place and then segregated the addresses according to the Senior Lead Officers that patrolled that neighborhood.
Lightray’s application requests that the user type in their address and zip code. With this information, we were able to cross-reference their location with the corresponding patrol unit. In the process, we built a simple step-by-step administrative newsletter tool that allows officers in every division to easily create and re-use templates, process crime alerts, work with existing divisional CAD units, and blast emails to the residents of their patrol area that sign up for the information.
Furthermore, the application can streamline efforts to deal with potential terrorist threats by allowing officers to communicate easily with groups of potential targets or key locations such as malls, hospitals or federal buildings.
To maximize the success and effectiveness of this technology solution for the LAPD, we added an important user option. At the moment a user is typing in an address to check out crime in his or her area, they may opt to receive an epolicing newsletter.
We look forward to sharing this wealth of knowledge and the tools we have created with other law-enforcement agencies.