What can I say? The creativity of the Bergen County New Jersey Sheriff’s Office warrants a blog about their new page! Kudos to them for pulling off a way to “spoof” Facebook and alert the good citizens of that northeast corner of the Garden State about some bad boys on the prowl. The intent is to have people get jazzed about reporting sightings of those listed on the page; hello, there’s a warrant out on that guy at the next table who’s sipping kawfee (coffee) at Dunkin' Donuts.
According to a recent article in The Record, the site was officially launched Tuesday, June 19, and had been in a testing phase for a few weeks.
And guess what? You, citizen of Bergen County, can look up fugitives and see how close they are to you. Have you ever wanted to be a vigilante…well, that’s NOT what it’s all about! Think of it as being a part time reporter or whistle blower instead.
Why the heck am I so excited about this?
- Bergen County is my “homeland” and I enjoy going back from time to time.
- I’ve been the victim of a bad boy from there in the past so any way to legally publicize someone “on the run” is okay by me.
- Marketing, plain and simple. Image booster for the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office! Nothing like a good old-fashioned website to get the word out. Did you guys get all your SEO in place too?
- And they're on Twitter and Facebook too! 387 fans on Facebook and they're just getting underway on Twitter. Links are prominent on the website. This rocks!
What’s great about it?
- People will be talking about the name; there’s already articles out there. Word of mouth = free publicity = more traffic to the site = people USING the site = more justice for all.
- It brings a bit of tongue in cheek to something serious but doesn't make it trivial. Will this work? Time will tell.
- It looks very official, down to the orange jumpsuits that add some color to the site.
- Searching is easy. You can search on merely a last name or a town, or a number of other filters. Found one in Alpine, which, by the way, is the wealthiest town in the U.S. (who knew?)
- Easy: Click on the box under Locate to map the last known address of the fugitive.
- Warnings to not try to apprehend the fugitive yourself. And they’re in red so you can’t miss them! Don’t worry; you’re still a hero by turning in information instead.
A few enhancements:
- Get a favicon!
- 48 pages with six mug shots / descriptions per page. Why not have more per page? Seeing that there are 48 pages is a bit disturbing for a county of just over 900,000 inhabitants.
- It’s not obvious that clicking on the map pointer will cause important Sheriff’s Office contact information to come up (and this is AFTER clicking on the box under Locate).
- Trademark Facecrook and the concept ASAP before someone "steals" the idea and runs with it. You OWN it and it could generate a lot of good, not to mention dollars for improve the justice system at large.
- change the name of your Facebook page and Twitter account to Facecrook. It's your name to use!
Too bad they missed out on the .com; if you merely type Facecrook into your Chrome browser you’ll get… Facebook! Hmmm…guess who owns THAT domain? Facecrook.net, however, will bring you the Bergen County Sherriff’s Office home page where you can click on Wanted at the top to get to Facecrook. For the record, here's the top portion of their website:
You don’t have to be living in Bergen County to check out the site; just click here. You DO have to agree to their terms, which are reasonable, before exploring further. Let’s see where this goes a year from now. Sure, there will be some tweaks. Maybe they’ll add information on the actual crime. Stay tuned.
An appropriate song to go with this rightous news. No brainer: