The Ellis Country Sheriff’s Office’s new website is up and running, with a goal of streamlining services and fostering greater communication between the agency and the public.

Sheriff’s office IT administrator Brady Davidson said he looked at other law enforcement websites to gather ideas to make the sheriff’s office site user-friendly.

“There were several sites I saw where there was so much on the page that you didn’t know where to start and where to look for things,” he said. “I think learning from the sites that I thought were useful and the ones that were bad examples I think really helped us provide something useful to the public. We went through several revisions before it was accessible to the public.”

The sheriff’s office also has created a Facebook page to update the public on upcoming events such as National Night Out. The page also features different news items such as when Sgt. Bryan McGee, Cpl. Jeremie Atilano, deputies Ryan Connelly and Manny Valdez received the medal of valor from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Education.

“This was something Sheriff Johnny Brown has wanted to get off the ground and running since he has come into office. Sheriff Brown wants his office to be as open and accessible to the public as possible,” Chief Deputy Dennis Brearley said. “The website and Facebook are just two more tools to make that happen.”

Open records requests can be submitted through the website as opposed to going to the sheriff’s office to fill out a form. Once the online request is submitted and the information is available the person is contacted to pick it up.

The public also has the ability to use the Jpay inmate money transfer service online instead of using the machine located in the lobby at the sheriff’s office. Family members and friends can use the online service to transfer money to an inmate account so he or she can purchase items in the commissary. The lobby machine is still available.

“Another feature is (the public) will have a direct name-to-face relationship with our investigators, our sergeants in patrol, all of our lieutenants, captains, the chief deputy and sheriff,” Davidson said. “There will be an actual picture of them as well their name and a way to contact them. Along with that there is an ability to see all of the contact numbers for our dispatch, for the jail and the other departments.”

Davidson said the website will provide direct communication from the public to narcotic officers. By clicking under the narcotics task force tab, people can fill out a form and report specific information about a crime.

One feature still in the works is the ability to look up inmates once they are booked in and had a bond set. This feature is pending approval from the Ellis County Commissioners Court. Once approved, it will provide information such as the inmate’s name, bond amount, date of arrest and a photograph.

To view the new website go to www.elliscountysheriff.com. The Facebook page can be seen at www.facebook.com/pages/Ellis-County-Sheriffs-Office/190081201037757

Contact Andrew at andrew.branca@wninews.com or 469-517-1451.