A new industry group is calling for greater use of electronic citation systems in an effort to reduce time officers spend writing tickets, improving safety and removing paper-based inefficiencies.
Being struck by a vehicle during a traffic stop is a leading cause of death for police officers, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. A new industry group is calling for increased use of electronic citation systems in an effort to reduce time officers spend writing tickets, improving their safety and removing the inefficiency of paper tickets.
Electronic citation systems help law enforcement agencies meet their ever-growing data collection and reporting requirements without compromising officer safety or effectiveness, according to the eCitation Coalition, a 12-member industry group promoting an alternative to traditional paper-based citations.
Use of the technology is expanding fast.
Public safety officers can now use handheld devices, mobile computers and printers to complete traffic stops faster and more safely and efficiently while focusing more of their attention on the offender.
Computer-assisted operations, such as e-ticketing with handheld devices, also provide more accurate information than manual methods – producing complete, enforceable citations that improve conviction rates, reduce court administration time and increase collections.
The citation software can also simplify data entry and help prevent errors while data traffic can be sent over a dedicated public safety network or through commercial cellular services. And e-citation systems can also take advantage of automated card reading, imaging and payment processing, improving functionality and efficiency.
Among the advantages of e-citation cited by the coalition are:
- Reducing time an officer is on the roadside, which increases safety for officers and citizens.
- Capturing revenue often lost to errors common in paper-based citation systems.
- Adding operational efficiencies to the judicial system.
- Reducing the amount of time needed to issue citations, enabling law enforcement officers to spend more time on patrol and less time on paperwork.
"e-citation solves multiple issues that plague most paper-based systems," said Keith Brin, Lake County, Illinois Circuit Court Clerk. "In addition to increasing officer safety, e-citation aids courts by reducing processing costs and data entry errors and allows us to redeploy staff into higher value functions."
The coalition is working to educate key law enforcement groups on the benefits of the technology and is supporting state-level legislation that would help defray the initial acquisition and ongoing maintenance of e-citation systems.
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