Allowing law enforcement officers the convenience of electronic citations not only provides them with a more efficient process of issues citations, it also gives a sense of safety. Using electronic hand held devices to issue citations gives a better air of safety by giving officers more opportunity to focus of the offender instead focusing on filling out paperwork. Using computer-operated systems within hand held devices, for such things as e-tickets, will also give more accurate information concerning the citation. Having a system with more accurate information allows court systems to increase collections and reduce administration times.
Information acquired through the electronic hand held citation device decreases the amount of time and money used for clerical data entry. These devices can also have all information used in issued citations can be immediately integrated into the computer for sharing and access throughout the entire system. Due to the recent Justice Department Consent Decree on the data collect during traffic stops, these electronic systems comply with providing the proper documentation of procedure compliance.
eCitation Systems help avoid using messy citation pads by having one single hand held device that automatically prints the citation, along with the procedure compliance agreement. The citation is printed out from a small printer that can be mounted in the back seat of a police vehicle, can be worn on the belt or a shoulder strap, or simply carried by hand. There are laptop and tablet versions of the eCitation systems, but the PDA-style (personal digital assistant) are the most commonly used type of computer for issuing citations.
The hand held or laptop devices allows the officer to swipe the magnetic strip along the back of an individual’s driver’s license and immediately receive the needed information to complete the citation. These hand held devices can also take a digital photograph to record the infraction and have it attached to the report document that can be pulled up at a later date for court proceedings. For example, taking a photograph of a vehicle that is illegally parked to ensure there is no way for the offender to dispute the infraction.
This type of software helps simplify citation data entry and helps to prevent errors. A study done by the University of Pittsburg shows that roughly 10% of citation contain errors. The eCitation system eliminates a large amount of that with proof reading and quality checking, which significantly makes a difference in accuracy. This software also offers the options to add notations, sketches, and voice recordings to be used in the future for court proceeding purposes. Another benefit to the eCitation system is the allowance of multiple infractions on the same single citation. The legibility and accuracy of the electronic citations eliminates possible discrepancies that lead to citations being overturned or waived.
It also helps to have everything, all of the citation information, uploaded directly to the system to allow for easier access by other police departments and municipal courts. Tennessee has passed a bill requiring the use of electronic citation systems within their police units. This could have a large impact on how other police departments across the country rethink issuing eCitation. There are such significant benefits to integrating this system into the police department across the country.