Three years ago, Tustin Police Officer Bill Yackle decided that local law enforcement had to reach out to a new kind of neighborhood: the online one.
"Our mission statement rests on community-oriented policing," Yackle said. "People shouldn't be afraid or too intimidated to talk to us. I figured there had to be a way for people to get to know who we are outside of the police car."
So he and records clerk Gail Mors set up a simple Web site, a common thing among the enforcement community. Yet Tustin's once-tiny site, at http://www.tustinpd.org, has blossomed into a hot spot for local gossip and crime tips.
The main draw is the "Ask Sgt. Mike" section, a bulletin board where Net users can ask questions and have an officer quickly respond. The queries, which can be posted anonymously, range from complaints about noisy neighbors to arguments over arrest warrants.