POLICE Magazine

APR 2019

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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32 POLICE APRIL 2019 the system, all the way to the court. is effectively eliminates the room for data input discrepancies, which can lead to tickets being dismissed. Another possible error with paper tickets is the wrong per- son being identified because of the driver's name or license be- ing improperly recorded. is can be costly and embarrassing. Or in the case of a dangerous offender being misidentified, it could pose a risk to officers and citizens. 2) INCREASES EFFICIENCY It takes an officer 10 to 15 minutes to manually issue a citation. In contrast, e-citations take two to three minutes and eliminate up to 200 keystrokes. Offi- cers can spend less time on paperwork and more time out on patrol. On the administrative side of e-citation, ticket processing time is signifi- cantly reduced. In the past, it could take 12 days for the information from the car- bon copy of a handwritten ticket to get to the courts and be officially entered into the system. Now, that information collected by the officer on the scene of a traffic stop travels elec- tronically into the system in just seconds. is also means that once the information is entered it can be used to provide more complete information about traffic violations and accident data. 3) MAKES TICKETING SAFER Because officers can issue citations more quickly using e-cita- tion, they spend less time on the side of the road, where they are in danger of being struck by vehicles, as are any occupants of the stopped vehicle. is is safer for officers and motorists. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Me- morial Fund, traffic-related fatalities accounted for over 36% of officer deaths in the first half of 2018. Of those traffic-related fa- talities, over 25% were due to roadside deaths. Since e-citation systems can reduce ticketing time by more than 50%, their use makes officers inherently safer. It should also be noted that during the time that must be spent on the side of the road issuing a ticket, since manual en- try is not required the officer can focus more attention on the offender. Increased situational awareness is always a boon to officer safety. As a bonus, in addition to getting motorists out of a poten- tially dangerous situation more quickly, having a traffic stop over more quickly gets them on the road more quickly, result- ing in more "satisfied customers." 4) REQUIRES CERTAIN TECHNOLOGY One of the barriers to implementing e-citation is the necessary technology. To access software or other information from the cloud and to transmit the data collected when issuing a citation on a traffic stop, officers need reliable wireless connectivity out in the field. And all of the hardware and software being used must work together. e specifics will be different for every de- partment based on what technology they already have in use and their individual needs. One necessity is a Records Management System (RMS) that contains or is compatible with the e-citation solution being used. Multiple RMS and e-citation vendors can be used across a region, such as a state, looking to increase e-citation use. But to streamline the process and minimize errors, there should be agreed upon standards regarding how e-citation data is col- lected, managed, and reported across all of these agencies. To print out tickets and give them to motorists, officers also must have mobile printers with them. ey can be worn by officers or affixed inside officers' vehicles. In addition to e-citation-spe- cific devices, many e-cita- tion programs can be used on the smart phones and tablets that officers are al- ready using for other tasks. 5) SAVES MONEY ere is an upfront cost for e-citation, but multi- ple studies show there is a relatively rapid return on investment thanks to in- creased revenue and fewer administrative costs. For example, an e-citation system can save $560,000 in revenue for a city that issues 60,000 citations per year. And when it comes to officer productivity, if 20 patrol officers issue five traffic cita- tions per day, e-citation can save 1,600 hours of patrol time per year, potentially reducing overtime expenditures. 6) FUNDING RESOURCES AVAILABLE As for most costly items needed for policing in the modern age, there are grants available for e-citation systems, and they're worth pursuing. It's also a good idea to collaborate with sur- rounding agencies whenever possible to share related costs. Yet another way to pay for the upfront and ongoing costs of e-citation software and/or hardware is passing the cost along to offenders. States such as Illinois, Tennessee, and Virginia have passed legislation that adds a fine surcharge to fund e-ci- tation. is is usually a flat fee added to an offender's fine. e fee can be divided between the state and the agency issuing the citation. Such legislation typically specifies how the funds can be used. is includes all costs related to purchasing e-citation systems as well as necessary ongoing maintenance, repair, overhaul, and replacement of hardware and software related to the systems. Although it requires investment and an adjustment period at the beginning, once most officers and agencies start using e-citation they don't want to go back to paper tickets. ank you to Brother Mobile Solutions (www.brothermobileso- lutions.com) and TBL Systems Inc. (formerly in Blue Line Re- porting) (www.tblsys.com) for contributing their expertise and assisting in the development of this article. Software used to capture and transmit a motorist's data can often be used on various devices, such as tablets and smart phones. This means officers don't need to go back to their patrol vehicles, which saves more time. 6 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT E-CITATION PHOTO: TBL SYSTEMS

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