The City of Park Ridge, IL Police department has begun an outreach program for the city’s residents. The purpose of this program is to improve the relationship between the public and the department to potentially improve the overall service the department can provide. The program involves a police officer making personal contact with every address in the city. During each encounter, questions or concerns of the resident can be addressed by the officer. Tracking the progress can be daunting, however, with over 17,000 different addresses in the city. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) was chosen as the best way to track the progression of this program.
To start this project, GIS created a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet with every city address broken down by police beat that could be used by the department to track the progress of the officers throughout the city. A member of the Police department then fills in a status within the spreadsheet as an officer makes contact with that address. If contact was made with the resident, a "made contact" status is entered. If contact was not made, an "attempted" status is entered. These statues are then linked to GIS, where they are mapped automatically on a daily basis to the city’s browser-based mapping application, MapOffice™. Once the data is displayed in MapOffice™, department staff can visually see the progress made on a map and the statuses of each encounter. Staff also uses the map to determine the next city block scheduled for this project. Without GIS, all the tedious tracking by the Police department would have to be limited to just a spreadsheet or plotted out manually by hand from online map printouts.