Taking a grand leap into the 21st century, the Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Office is embracing technology by establishing a new interactive tool for the community’s use.

The area law enforcement agency office recently launched a new responsive website where residents can find information regarding the operations of the sheriff’s office, according to a news release. The new website is expected to serve as an information resource for the public and assist with community policing efforts, the release stated.

“Our goal with the website is to provide transparency between our office and the public,” Guadalupe County Sheriff Arnold Zwicke said in the release. “We want the public to understand how this office serves the community, residents and visitors. We want our community members to have the information they need, when they need it.”

Found at guadalupecountysheriffTX.org, the website features press releases, messages from Zwicke, pages on services of different divisions, records search and more.

There’s also a link to the Guadalupe County Crime Stoppers. Zwicke touted the site’s design, which has the ability for visitors to access the information they want and need, all accompanied by simple, flexible navigation.

“The responsive design allows users to quickly and conveniently access the website information on the device of their choice: desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone,” Zwicke said. “In addition, the responsive website features a Site Search, which makes finding specific information much faster and easier for the site visitor.”

He wants his office’s use of technology to spread throughout the community, where users will be able to more readily access useful information on their own, the sheriff said. County residents should be able to access the website and on their own locate registered sex offenders’ addresses, submit crime tips and find sheriff’s office news and updates, Zwicke said.

Fewer people will spend time calling the sheriff’s office, which will free up staff and deputies to spend more time, energy and effort protecting the residents, he said.

“Posting information on the website improves the efficiency of the Sheriff’s Office by reducing the number of inquiry calls handled by our office,” Zwicke said. “This tool allows us to devote more resources to the safety and security of our residents.”

He said his office contracted out the website’s development to an Arkansas-based company, Books Jeffrey Marketing Inc. The company develops websites, apps and more for law enforcement, governmental offices and other entities across the country, according to the news statement.

The sheriff’s office began working with the company to develop the website around the end of 2018, Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Investigator Lt. Tarinna Skrzycki-Pfeil said. Creators of the site included platforms connecting the website to Facebook and a mobile app, she said.

So, to keep up with the times, the office also set up a Facebook page, Skrzycki-Pfeil said.

“The Facebook, it was just part of the package. We decided that, you know, it was a good time to start being on Facebook and being in communication with the community,” she said. “The sheriff wanted to make it easier for the community to have contact with us.”

None of it came about just for the sake of getting with the times or using technology for the sake of using it, Skrzycki-Pfeil said. The sheriff and members of his staff have certain real-world goals in mind, she said.

“Just to keep people informed about what’s going on in the county, events that may be going on, things that are going on in the sheriff’s office and the adult detention center,” the lieutenant said. “We want to put out as much information as we can about all of the things going on with the sheriff’s office to be transparent and efficiently communicate with everyone.”

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