The Fairview Heights Police Department recently adopted a new look for its Internet face. But the re-design is more than cosmetic.

"We wanted to re-organize our Web site so it was more user friendly," said Lt. Nick Gailius of the Fairview Heights Police Department. "And we also wanted something that we could grow and expand in the future. What we got was all of those things and it’s more cost effective.

"One of the things we have on the new Web site is our daily activity link. The press can go online to see our police blotter. That saves us the trouble of faxing the blotter, which also saves us the expense of printing up paper copies. Of course, the public can also access it. The police blotters will probably remain available for about 60 days."Among other items on the Web site are links to the state of Illinois’s sex offender list, city ordinances and crime safety tips.

"There is also the ability to leave crime tips," said Gailius. "For instance, if someone knows about a drug house, they can report it anonymously."

In the future, the Police Department hopes to make a number of other things available on its Web site, including press releases, a historic photo gallery, crime statistics, community news, police reports, a most-wanted page, secure neighborhood watch pages and various reports for insurance companies.

"The new Web site will definitely save both time and money," said Gailius.

The renovated site was activated on Dec. 3. It was created by Mid America Web Solutions of O’Fallon and is easily updated. The cost for the re-design was $6,000.

Currently, residents of Fairview Heights can go to the Police Department Web site to register for CodeRed, the city’s new emergency notification system.

CodeRed, which can place 60,000 calls per hour, is available to any Fairview Heights’ resident or business owner free of charge.

The service, which is provided by a Florida firm, can notify residents and businesses by phone of such issues as missing children, neighborhood crimes, evacuations, terrorism threats, gas leaks, drinking water contamination, utility outages, street closings and weather alerts.

It also features a geographic targeting system that can direct messages to a very specific part of town.

The redesign of the Fairview Heights Police Department’s Web site precedes a similar reworking of the city’s Web site.

"The new design for the city was approved months ago, but it got held up because we were waiting for a new city logo, which we just recently approved," said Ward 4 Alderwoman Linda Arnold.

Arnold said she expects the new city Web site to be ready for council approval later this month.

Making the city’s Web sites more utilitarian was a priority issue for former City Administrator Don Greer, who died unexpectedly in May of last year.

Greer’s replacement is expected to be named soon.