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A Publication Featuring The Information Services Technology of Maine State Government
|Volume VII, Issue 4||April 2004|
Maine Most Wanted.com
By Commander Rick Desjardins, Brunswick Police Department
Will you help us solve a crime? You are the key to helping
Maine law enforcement identify one of Maine’s most wanted criminals. Maine law
enforcement has long struggled with the inability to quickly solve crimes
because vital information – such as mug shots - is not usually disseminated
broadly. Unidentified criminals are able to re-offend and are more likely to
elude capture. Take a look at
www.mainemostwanted.com. If you recognize a person, and alert police you are
making a real difference in your community!
Although the Internet has become an integral part of many of our lives, the total extent of its potential uses has yet to be met. This new website will allow us to use the Internet to make connections to potential witnesses, and bring the law enforcement community to a place where they can jointly and more efficiently solve crimes. Getting this site established here has taken the hard work of many individuals and groups. The FBI National Academy Associates, Brunswick Police and Maine Community Policing Institute were some of the many organizations that made this site possible.
How does this all work? When a law enforcement agency has a particular case that has an image or rendering of an unknown suspect, the investigator simply logs onto the web site, completes a form, and electronically sends the information for posting. Once the data is cleared through the site administrator, the case (image and description) is placed on the site for all to see. If a person reading the case has information believed to be helpful, s/he simply clicks on “report a tip” and an instant connection to the investigator takes place. The person reporting the tip can stay anonymous and give information without fear of being identified.
Who will use the site? We are modeling this site after www.massmostwanted.com, which has seen a wide range of users including, federal, state and local law enforcement. It has also been common for correction staff to review the site, and often they recognize unknown suspects as inmates, which makes for an easy identification.
A key component of the site is the use by the public. Many cases solved to date on the www.mainemostwanted.com site have been solved with the help of Maine citizens. In one case, a family member who noticed a relative on the site, called to report information about the offender to police. In this case, it was clear that the offender was in dire need of help, and needed to be caught before they got into more serious trouble.
Who will this benefit? Everyone except criminals! Clearly, law enforcement has a huge potential to reap benefits from getting cases solved. In addition, the public will also benefit from the ability to see what is going on, and track cases in their community. This technology has a real potential for solving many crimes that would otherwise go unsolved.
Moving forward with this type of innovation makes perfect sense for Maine. We welcome any comments about the program and hope to see more of this type of collaboration in the future of Maine’s law enforcement.
Questions? Contact either Brunswick Police Department’s Commander Rick Desjardins, by calling 207-725-5521 X 102 or Crime Analyst Wendy Kierstead by calling 207-725-5521 X 143. Both may also be contacted at the following address: 28 Federal Street, Brunswick ME 04011.