Having been spoiled by generations of dispatchers telling us in no uncertain terms where to go and how to get there, we cops may have an unreasonable expectation of acquiring accurate responses to our online queries. But as any cyber-sleuth can tell you, ask and ye shall receive.
Unfortunately, what you will receive is 25,000 responses to your query.
For an insomniac with attention deficit disorder, this saturation approach might serve as an agreeable distraction. For the rest of us, however, a more streamlined approach is probably in order. Accordingly, we present this discussion of the best Websites for law enforcement officers.
But first a few words about our approach to this concept. At first we thought about creating a "top 10" list. But compiling a "top 10" list of law enforcement Websites is a less than thorough approach. Too many good candidates would be left at the road side.
Then we decided that 25 sounded like a nice number. But after negotiating the labyrinth of hypertext links to many a blind alley and dead end, we were not entirely sure that there would be enough great sites to reach 25. Some links were down; others were no longer available. Some of the links are still available-as in "for sale." For example, the domain name laws.com is for sale, with a one-time quoted value of $750,000 to $1 million.
So rather than organize these sites in any particular hierarchy, we decided to go with a listing of quality sites that might roughly parallel an officer's needs throughout his or her career. With that in mind, let's begin.
Getting the Job
It's been noted that the police are the only 24-hour social service in the country. But a good argument could be made that www.monster.com provides a valuable social service, 24/7. Certainly, "the Monster Board" as it was once known, is particularly handy for informing aspiring criminal justice majors about job openings.
Another haven for wannabes and would-be laterals is www.policeemployment.com. This site features federal, state, and local job opportunities, as well as helpful hints for helping you gain gainful employment.
Another great resource for job opportunities, www.LawEnforcementJobs.com posts openings at police agencies across the country, including positions in the federal government. You can search for job openings using dropdown menus that let you choose the sector, position, and region in which you wish to find a job. Or you can view all job postings by the date posted.
For police networking, which can make you aware of jobs that are out there, be sure to check out the forums at www.policemag.com. This rapidly growing law enforcement Website is the online presence of POLICE magazine, and it includes content from the print mag, Web-only features, and a free-flowing discussion of police issues.
Gear and Goodies
Once we've found ourselves employed, we'll probably want to hit the streets running. To cut sartorial mustard, we've got to look squared away. So let's go shopping online.
A really great shopping resource for officers is The Ultimate Law Enforcement Equipment Directory (www.geocities.com/cmalerts/). It features everything from uniforms, to night vision gear, to body armor.
The Ultimate Law Enforcement Equipment Directory is just one of a multitude of sites that can help you meet a variety of uniform needs. One advantage to shopping online is that it allows you to shop 24/7 in the privacy of your home. There's no need to lace up your shoes or gas up the car, and you can often find better bargains online than at your local store. One of the drawbacks of online shopping is that the plethora of online sales sites makes it impossible to thoroughly comparison shop all of your options.
Other online shopping concerns include safety and satisfaction. But don't worry. The Federal Trade Commission has an excellent guide for shopping online at www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/online/cybrsmrt.htm that will virtually guarantee you a happy online experience.