AUBURN - For more than a year, two Auburn officers have been toiling over a side project on top of their normal city duties: creating a Web site for the police department they work for.
The Web site, www.auburngapd.com, finally went live last week. And it's already garnered notice from other police agencies across the country.
The Auburn Police Department had never had a Web site before the launch on Jan. 12.
And officers have never even had their own e-mail addresses. But now residents can e-mail tips directly to individual officers or check information about the courts all from the comfort of their homes.
"We think it's one heck of a Web site," Detective Sgt. Lee Lapsky said. Lapsky and Officer Steve Perra created the site at no cost to the city after starting their own Web design business, Digital Solutions.
Lapsky said when he and Perra started the site, they didn't think it would be such an endeavor.
But the pair kept on thinking of more things to add - officer biographies, explanations of police programs, downloadable forms - and the site just kept growing.
Laden with pictures and graphics to help entice children to read about the department, the Web site also contains a plethora of information about what each division does, tips to help protect readers from crimes and statistics about what the department has been doing.
Lapsky said he was particularly proud of the community bulletin boards, which give residents an opportunity to talk about what's going on in their area.
Future plans include giving people the opportunity to pay tickets on the Web site, creating a photo gallery and posting a history of the department.
The site has already been honored with five different awards, from groups as diverse as the Boston Police Bomb Squad and a communication company from Canada.
"As designers, it makes us feel really good about all the work we put into it," Lapsky said.
Police Chief Frederick Brown said he thinks the site is a great way to communicate with the city's residents.
Instead of spending money on gas to come to the department simply to pick up a form, he said, people will be able to download the materials they need and stick them in the mail.
Residents also will be able to keep up with what the department is doing.
"As things change, the information will change," he said. "It will be a medium for the community, so they know what's going on."