A redesign that promises more interactivity with residents is coming to the Manchester Township website.
The current website, which was posted in in August of 2000, will be replaced by a modern portal that Chief of Police Brian Klimakowski hopes will save residents and the department time and hassle.
"If you look at our old site, it's very much outdated. There isn't a whole lot of information on it," Klimakowski said. "It's not very user-friendly for us to go in there and update the information and it's not very easy for people to navigate."
In late February, the township council approved a resolution authorizing a $7,360 contract with Web Alliance International Inc. in Toms River for the design of new township and police websites. That cost is divided among the two, with the police portion costing about $3,000, according to Klimakowski.
"We anticipate this whole project will be up and operation within a month's period of time," the chief said. The website will have its own domain name, rather than a link from the "Departments" section of the township homepage, where it is currently located.
Three years of web hosting for the police department website through Godaddy.com cost $422.84, according to the March 12 township council bill list. The website could have been hosted internally on township servers, but Klimakowski said that it is more cost-effective to host it externally and use township equipment to run a web-based officer scheduling system.
The new online home of the department will be "much more interactive," the chief said.
"Our goal is to put a tremendous amount of information on the website, so hopefully it will reduce pedestrian traffic coming into headquarters for different items," Klimakowski said. "There will be a lot of information about what's going on in town."
Information on various department bureaus, forms and applications will be available online. For example, residents can print firearms applications, and OPRA and records requests forms at home and then submit them to the township clerk's office.
With more information available online, the hope is to free up resources in the already short-staffed department.
"This will afford [office staff] more time because they'll have to handle a lot less questions on the telephone," Klimakowski said. "Everything can be done, more or less, on the web."
The department is also working to contract with Carfax to make crash reports available online, according to the chief.
Each bureau will be responsible for the content of its section of the website, Klimakowski said. The development company will offer training for the officers tasked with updating.
The website will also help the department as reports will be made public online. Quarterly reports regarding internal affairs processes, the department's recruiting process and mission statement will be among the documents posted.
"They give you alternate means," Klimakowski said. "But the best is through the web."