05/20/2006

LAPD creates a blog, but hasn't gotten an earful yet

By ANDREW GLAZER
Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES- Welcome to the blogosphere, chief.

And "good luck with your cesspool of crime, disease and victimhood."

Such was top Los Angeles cop William J. Bratton's introduction to the rough-and-tumble world of online bulletin boards following his inaugural posting on LAPDblog.org.

Just a week old, the site makes the Los Angeles department the biggest police force in the United States _ and one of the first worldwide _ to blog.

So far, the "cesspool" post notwithstanding, Bratton's message and responses to it have largely been positive. The site's 24,000 visitors see announcements for department events and recycled press releases.

Police from Karnataka, India, to Eden Prairie, Minnesota, have started blogs and say they are happy with the results. Visitors to LAPD's blog say candor from a historically tightlipped department will determine the site's success.

"To say `blogging' implies having a conversation with the public," said media critic Jeff Jarvis. "It will be very hard for them to do. What's going to happen when there's another controversy in L.A.?"

The point is to build public trust by improving communication _ to create an online give-and-take, even when the taking smarts.

"We want to hear feedback," said Lt. Paul Vernon, who is helping to oversee LAPDblog.org. "We welcome them, however serious or tongue-in-cheek they are."

As long as posts aren't profane and do not attack specific officers, they will stay online, police promise.

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On the Net:

http://www.lapdblog.org

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