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City's Cops Go High-Tech, Can Ticket Straight From Cruiser

The Free Lance-Star via YellowBrix

December 29, 2009

The tense moments you spend sweating in your car, waiting for a police officer to write your latest traffic ticket could be fewer, thanks to a new technology Fredericksburg Police are introducing.

Fredericksburg is the first locality in Virginia to install equipment in police cars that allows officers to fill out and print traffic tickets straight from their vehicles.

The new system is a time-saver.

It’s faster for police officers in the field, and it eliminates the need for police employees to spend hours entering hand-written data into the courts computer system.

That could improve accuracy, according to Robert Palmer, who oversees the technology for the Virginia Supreme Court.

“The time it takes today to get a summons from the police officer into the court system takes quite a bit of data entry,” he said. “If you only have to enter it once, the accuracy of the data goes up tremendously. There’s no interpreting handwriting anymore.”

Palmer said Fredericksburg is the first locality to get the new equipment out on the streets, but several other areas are in the process of introducing it, including Augusta, Smyth and James City counties. Falls Church and Alexandria are also interested in it, he said.

Thanks to a federal grant, Fredericksburg police purchased 12 printers and scanners that connect with the laptops already installed in police cars.

When an officer stops a driver, he or she scans the bar code on the driver’s license. That puts all of the driver’s information on the ticket.

The officer can then print copies on a small printer that fits between the two front seats of the police cruiser, and then take them to the offender to sign.

“It’s a lot faster,” said Officer Tom Evans, who has been using the new system for a little more than a week. “And the courts love it because it’s legible.”

Police spokeswoman Natatia Bledsoe said the new equipment also saves time back at police headquarters.

“We had people in our records department who spent hours out of every day manually entering information into our system,” she said. “This has very much streamlined the process and completely removed the data entry portion of the workload.”

The electronic ticket system adds to the city’s growing arsenal of electronic enforcement tools.

Two years ago, Fredericksburg became the first city in the United States to use a high-tech parking enforcement system called AutoChalk.

That system allows a driver to make regular rounds of parking enforcement zones in a vehicle equipped with cameras and computers that can automatically track parking violations and generate tickets that are mailed to offenders.

Bledsoe said the department hopes to be able to buy electronic ticket units for every police vehicle as funds allow.

Emily Battle: 540/374-5413 Email: ebattle@freelancestar.com


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  • Photo_user_blank_big

    jmore1369

    over 4 years ago

    2 Comments

    We had it at our agency for about 2 years. It is a nice system at the street level but the program was eventually pulled because there was constant problems with the e-ticketing programs having problems linking with the CAD and RMS programs. The offficer safety issue was the biggest concern at the street.

  • Img_0459_max50

    Latham017

    over 4 years ago

    82 Comments

    We have been using a similar system here at my agency in Ga for about a year now (with the exception of the bar-code scan) My only criticism of the system is that you have to be in your car to enter tickets or use the technology. It creates an officer safety issue and puts you at a tactical disadvantage on the stop. Putting the technology into a PDA form would be excellent.

  • Cot_max50

    hbg522

    over 4 years ago

    7006 Comments

    sounds great! hope to see it soon here.

  • Mourning_badge_max50

    Straightshooter

    over 4 years ago

    1708 Comments

    Long time coming but a great idea.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 4 years ago

    I have been using, what we call e-citation, for several years in NC. It's one of the best things we have gone too in many years. It's not only time saving but it is a officer safety issue. You are not having to look at your ticket book to write the citation you can let the computer do most of the "fill in the blanks" while you keep an eye on the violator. When somthing this good comes out I wish dept could start utilizing it right away and have to worry about having enough money to have to purchase it.

  • American_flag_eagle_max50

    NewYork911

    over 4 years ago

    1672 Comments

    Second swany.. we have also been using Tracs for tickets, accidents, printing statements, etc....It is a HUGE time saver...once you get use to it of course....

  • Picture_204_max50

    bklyn

    over 4 years ago

    762 Comments

    coming soon to a Dept. near you.

  • In_remembrance_of_oakland_pd_max50_max50_max50_max50_max50

    swany

    over 4 years ago

    306 Comments

    We have been using a system called Tracs for about 5yrs now. It is a huge time saver especially when you write numerous tickets to one person. You just hit one button and a new ticket pops up and all you have to fill in is the violation section. The scanners we have scans licenses and regisrartions and can also take pictures you can save as an attachment. When I do a DWI arrest it saves a lot of time. The only form we cant do on Tracs is the Domestic Violence Reports.

  • Pug_max600_max50

    DALLASCRANE

    over 4 years ago

    19386 Comments

    E-Tickets are the new wave at 5000 a pop for the system. They actually are self funding and pay off in a year or so. That is if the tickets are written in quantity.

  • Godblessamerica_1__max50

    JB4Justice

    over 4 years ago

    156 Comments

    Anything that makes an officers life easier and quicker is a good thing, although for the civilian, they may not catch as many breaks, but thats another story.

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50

    Whalewatcher

    over 4 years ago

    10910 Comments

    Jonas, it's true they still don't like you, but at least they have less time to sit and stew over it. If the process is more streamlined, it's better for everyone. Besides, less time writing means more time catching more offenders ... ;)

  • Aaa_max50

    beejac

    over 4 years ago

    1424 Comments

    Looks like Virginia is catching up with a lot of other states.

  • 702727_galleryimage_max50

    Ryan515

    over 4 years ago

    90 Comments

    North Carolina has had this technology a while already we call it eCitation. The only thing we have to do is put in the OLN and tag, click the charge or charges and click print them bam! Citation issued takes less then a minute and a half. After you click submit at the end of the day it go straight to the courts! I love it and am very happy to have it.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    natasha74

    over 4 years ago

    604 Comments

    that's great!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 4 years ago

    I'd love to have e-ticket available to use at my dept.

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