City’s arrest reports go public

The Burbank Police Department quietly unveiled a new website tool for residents and the media this week.

Since Sunday, daily arrest logs have been available on Burbank’s website for the first time, marking a significant step in building out the Police Department’s website, officials said.

“It contemporizes the department,” Acting Police Chief Scott LaChasse said. “So many other agencies are doing the same thing. There’s no reason for us not to do it.”

Posting daily arrest logs on the website had been a goal that was “outstanding for a long time,” he said, adding that he has been working on the request since he arrived in January 2010.

The City Attorney’s Office also had to sign off on the format of the reports to make sure the information should be made public.

“To my knowledge, in my 16 years here, we have not had arrest logs posted on our website,” Police Records Manager Jennifer Guevara said.

Having arrest logs online also eliminates the need for a resident or member of the media to go to the police station to search for arrest information, Officer Joshua Kendrick said.

A program created by a crime analyst pulls information from a computer system at the jail and a report runs automatically for a 24-hour period, Guevara said.

She then reviews the information before the crime analyst makes it available on the website.

“The intent is to do it every day,” Guevara said, adding there is roughly a 24-hour delay in the posting, but noted that staff resources ultimately would determine the frequency of the posts.

Once on the city website, the police department’s “crime stats” section on the left side of the web page shows links to an arrest report for the day.

In neighboring Glendale, police post crime reports and arrests and link to monthly crime statistics and activity through 2006. Daily booking reports show arrests through the previous day, dating to the last six days of December 2010.

The change in Burbank is also part of a bigger effort to make the website easier to navigate and allow better communication between police and residents.

“We have all kinds of plans for the website,” LaChasse said, adding more can be done to push out information and integrate social media. “We want it to be tremendously user friendly.”

In the end, LaChasse said suggestions from the community would shape the website.

“We want to incorporate the community’s needs,” he said. “There are always new needs. It’s a matter of us having the ability to harvest from the community what their desires are.