Sheriff's department posts website PHOTO 1

Sheriff Jon Hayden looks at the "in memoriam" page on the Graves County Sheriff's Department's new website. The department launched the site last week.

The Graves County Sheriff's Department's website is providing another way for citizens and law enforcement officers to connect.

The site, which is the department's first online presence other than through Facebook, launched last week at gravescountysheriff.com.

"The department had never had a website before, and I had learned through past experience that the websites for law enforcement agencies can be very effective and very beneficial, not only for us but for the citizens," Sheriff Jon Hayden said.

The site includes an area to provide tips about crime as well as a landlord/tenant guide, requirements for eviction, details about automobile inspections and fees, how to obtain a concealed carry permit and training, property tax deadlines with discount and penalty dates and crime prevention tips for seniors.

"We've identified what we know a lot of people have questions about," Hayden said.

Previously, he said, the office got 15 to 20 calls daily from citizens, often about the same questions.

Now, he said, people comfortable with using the internet have another source to get the information.

"It makes it easier for them to research what the issue is," Hayden said. "It prevents them from having to call down here, and it frees up our staff, too."

The website's home page also includes a live feed from the department's Facebook page, where news releases are routinely posted. They may include information such as recent arrests or wanted fugitives.

"As we post press releases on Facebook it's updating the website as well, and it's one easy click," Hayden said.

Job applicants can download a list of job requirements and print an employment application, which includes the Kentucky Law Enforcement Council's code of ethics and canon of ethics for deputies.

Hayden also included a code of ethics for the sheriff and a mission statement for the department on the site.

People involved in minor wrecks where no one is injured also do not have to call the sheriff's department. Instead, they can visit a "forms" page to download an individual accident report that includes instructions for mailing it to the Kentucky State Police records division. The report can be provided to an insurance company as needed.

Hayden said the forms can be helpful when someone hits a deer or for so-called "fender benders" when people slide off into a ditch in snowy or icy weather. Responding to numerous wrecks at the same time in winter weather can be difficult for deputies, and this process should help focus attention on more serious wrecks at those times, Hayden said.

He reassured people that if two or more vehicles are involved and there is any question at all between drivers as to what happened, they should still call the sheriff's office.

Every employee of the sheriff's department is also listed on an employees page of the website, most with pictures. All include their direct email addresses. Hayden encouraged people who need to talk with a specific officer to do so using that information.

"We want to make it as easy as possible for them to share their information with us, their ideas or concerns," Hayden said.

Finally, the site also includes an "in memoriam" page with information about past sheriffs and deputies who have died, including those who have died in the line of duty. The site includes pictures and some biographical information, mainly taken from their obituaries.

Hayden said he would be glad to feature more past law enforcement officers, both those who had been retired before passing and those who were in active service with the department at the time.