Pennsylvania traffic stop app

More efficient traffic stops… for police

A new mobile app promises to make traffic stops by Pennsylvania police more pleasant -- at least for the officers involved.

Traffic Stop, which was released in April, lets police key in a license plate or drivers’ license number and get information from multiple sources, including the State Police, the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts and the departments of Transportation and Human Services. Previously, police would have to search six different databases for the same information, which was time-consuming and tedious -- not to mention dangerous for officers and citizens stopped on the sides of busy highways.

Now officers can enter the information once during a traffic stop to find out if the car is stolen or if the subject has a warrant, suspended or revoked license or is associated with a protection from abuse order.

Traffic Stop is hosted on the Pennsylvania Justice Network (JNET), a secure portal used by criminal justice and public safety professionals to access data from local, state and federal sources. JNET’s infrastructure locates and accesses data from agency databases and operates through Pennsylvania’s Criminal Justice Information Services compliant enterprise data center. "At no cost to taxpayers, we have created a tool that will increase public safety and allow officers to perform their jobs more effectively," Secretary of Administration Sharon Minnich, whose office oversees JNET, said in the announcement. "Officers can spend less time looking up information and be alerted sooner to potentially dangerous situations during traffic stops."

The data itself is stored on separate agency servers and databases, which, according to JNET Executive Director Eric Webb, actually keeps the information safer. “It’s actually more secure with us not owning the data,” Webb told StateScoop. If JNET “did have a breach, the intruder is not really touching databases.”

Since the April release, officers have conducted over 47,000 person and vehicle inquiries using Traffic Stop.

"The application is amazing. I can run information quicker than a dispatcher. I have already made several arrests for expired and suspended registrations," said Nathan Groft, of the Carroll Valley Borough Police Department.

About the Author

Derek Major is a former reporter for GCN.

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