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|Sheriff's office updates Web site|
The Ouachita Parish Sheriff's web site has undergone a major overhaul with many more changes upcoming to make the sheriff's office more accessible to citizens.
Sheriff Royce Toney envisions the new web site as a portal for any citizen to obtain any information they may need about the sheriff's office.
"My office is open to the public," Toney said. "We're going to let them know what we're doing and we're going to let them know what our deputies are doing out on the streets."
"I want people to be able to pay their taxes online so they don't have to stand in line during the winter to pay their taxes," he said. "I want them to be able to pay their traffic fines on the web."
"We're working on all that right now," Toney added.
The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office currently allows citizens to pay taxes and traffic fines via the Internet, Toney said.
He said one of the methods to make the sheriff's office more accessible is to have a better online presence.
"Electronics and the computer is the thing of the future and you can't get away from it anymore," Toney said. "You have to have a web site. Thirty-five years ago when I first started we didn't have computers, so things are changing, and we're just trying to go with the change and be on top of it.
"We want to be the most progressive sheriff's office in the United States. The only way to do that is to stay up with the computer age. We don't want to be behind. We want to be in the forefront, not in the past.
"The way to do it is to get our web site going, so we've got people working on that. We're going to make it user friendly. We want the citizens to be on our team because as a team, we achieve more."
The sheriff's office will routinely update its web site with important information such as road closings, people wanted for criminal activity or child abductions.
"If we've had a robbery, we can put out a BOLO to our citizens to be on the look out for a blue Buick with three white males in it," Toney explained. "We can put out a brief description. Of course, we don't want them hunting them down. We want them to call us. Anything like that we want to get it out to the public fast."
Sheriff's office officials are considering allowing businesses and others to advertise on the web site to help offset the cost of updating it.
"We're merging it with the cela.com website, and I'm telling the businesses and citizens to get ready … it's the most popular web site in northeast Louisiana, and we're thinking of letting people advertise on our CELA website," Toney said. "I walk into businesses and owners tell me, 'Every day my employees are looking at your web site to see who they know who's gotten arrested.' It is the No. 1 web site in northeast Louisiana.
"We're toying with that idea just to get the taxpayers' money back. With the advertising money, that web site shouldn't cost us any money.
"Who knows what we're going to have a couple of months from now."
The sheriff's office's web site is www.OPSO.net.