The Community Policing Dispatch premiered 4 years ago this month with just three articles, no way for readers to subscribe, and a small editorial board that was proud of having finally seen the concept through to reality, but not entirely sure what we’d have to say in the February issue.
This month sees the start of our fifth year! Now more than a dozen COPS Office staffers regularly contribute to getting the Dispatch out each month and numerous others help identify story ideas. We’ve also been honored with two awards from the National Association of Government Communicators, but what I am most proud of is the fact that we now have more than 4,000 subscribers from around the globe and we continue to grow. We want the Dispatch to be interesting and useful to our readers, and one of the best measures of that is the number of people who read it each month. If you are already one of our subscribers, thank you for being a part of the Dispatch community (and if you are not, you can join us by clicking on that little envelope to the left of this article).
Another thing that I am proud of is that we no longer have to search high and low for new stories to fill each issue. One important reason for that is that many of our readers have taken the time to send an e-mail to tell us about their innovations and successes. Some recent examples of the stories that have “found us” include this month’s piece on the fun and new Coffee With a Cop initiative launched in Hawthorne, California; the November spotlight on the Hurst, Texas, intervention team; the look at North Miami Beach Florida’s Neighborhood Services and Cadet Inspection program and the feature on taking community policing out to a Red Sox game, both of which appeared in October. I hope that in 2012 the editors’ inbox will fill up with even more stories from the field. Remember, you do not have to submit a finished piece, just tell us your idea and if it is one we can work with, our editors and staff writers can help you get it ready for publication.
Sharing your own community’s success story is not the only way that you can help shape the future of the Dispatch, however. Unlike many online newspapers and blogs, we do not have a comments feature after each story, but we do welcome and encourage your feedback on both specific pieces and the Dispatch in general. Like a story? Have additional questions about it? We’d love to know! We always let the agencies know when we get questions and compliments about their features. Think there are ideas and issues we’re not paying enough attention to? Tell us what you’d like to see us focus on.
Lastly, I would like to take a quick moment to thank the many communities that allowed us to share their stories with all of you over the past 4 years. If you haven’t been with the Dispatch from the very beginning, I encourage you to take a trip back through the archives and read about some of the great things that are (and have been!) happening in police and sheriff’s departments both large and small, across this country and around the world. And of course, keep a watch on your inbox each month so that you don’t miss a single issue of Volume 5!