Students Lend Expertise to Small City Police Force

January 07, 2010

Students Lend Expertise to Small City Police Force A group of Saint Leo University students has been praised for its work in helping a small police department upgrade its website.

The new Dade City Police Department website (www.dadecitypolice.com) went live in late December. Dade City is a small municipality six miles from Saint Leo’s main campus, and a hub of local activity for rural, eastern Pasco County. Previously, the city’s police department had only a page on the broader city government website.

Chief Ray Velboom wanted a more interactive site that would offer city residents up-to-date information on security issues in their community, and allow them new ways to communicate with officers on the force. The problem was, like many Florida municipalities, Dade City has suffered from budget woes, and didn’t have the funds to invest in new web development for community policing.

That challenge turned into a special pro bono project for a team of four students from the School of Business, led by December graduate Erick Armstrong, and supervised by Bryan Reagan, assistant professor of computer information systems. They produced a more interactive site comparable to the sites of other small-city police departments in the county. Dade City residents can now receive security alerts, send e-mail messages to specific officers, and request neighborhood security patrols through the website, a local newspaper article noted.

“It’s a great partnership,” Velboom told a Tampa Tribune reporter. “It’s a great resume builder for the students. We got a great website, and the price was right.”

The other students on the team were: Yves Jacobs, Jeffery Meszaros, and Travis Richards, all undergraduates.