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Police Add Fun to Web Site

What motivated the wallpaper offer? Maybe the sight of the faceless officer, resplendent in her Honor Guard uniform, will encourage more to join the ranks of Richmond's blue. Maybe seeing a police car on your computer every day will inspire you to reconsider stealing that Swingline stapler from the supply closet.

But it was the photograph of the headquarters that sparked the idea. When Cynthia Price, director of police-department media relations, saw the picture taken by a police photographer, she immediately wanted it for her desktop.

"I thought it was really cool looking," she says. "I just liked the different colors and different shades." Price then suggested to one of the police department's Web site administrators that they make it available to the public.

So up it went, along with the cruiser and the officer. Next, Price wants to add shots of a K-9 detective and one of the city's mounted officers.

She doesn't know exactly how many have downloaded the images. But hits on the site have increased recently — from 93,000 in December to 118,000 in January, when the images were added to the site. Price says she "would love to say" the increase could be attributed to the wallpaper, but that would be a stretch.

Price says she's always looking for new ways to lure visitors to the site. "We want the community to eventually come to the site every week. Eventually, every day," she says.

We have a few suggestions for new features to add. How about: "Daily Recipes from Richmond's Finest"? Or a "Dimwitted Criminal of the Week" feature? Or a screensaver showing the vice unit's gallery of transvestite prostitutes?

On second thought, maybe they should stick with the wallpaper.

— Melissa Scott

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