With the swipe of a driver’s license mag stripe across a handheld device, local cops will be streamlining the process of issuing traffic citations.
The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department announced that through a collaborative effort with the Stanislaus County Superior Court, and the Cities of Oakdale, Riverbank, Modesto, Patterson, Hughson, Waterford, Ceres, Newman and the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department were collectively awarded a grant for handheld citation writers and software from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The total amount for the grant was $361,800 and will cover the cost of 48 handheld units including software and charging stations for the city police agencies and the sheriff’s office.
When staffing is reduced, it is common for an agency to consider increasing their efficiency so that fewer people can maintain the same level of service. In many cases, implementation of new technologies can help increase efficiency. These technologies often come with a high initial price but low ongoing costs.
Currently, citations are hand written by an officer that produces copies on NCR paper. For record keeping purposes, the citations are manually entered into the department’s records management system taking up time by the person doing the data entry. One copy of the citation is also filed with the court. Any errors discovered had to be manually amended with a Notice of Correction mailed to the violator and a copy sent to the court.
Called AutoCITE, the handheld ticketing unit from Irvine-based Enforcement Technology Inc., saves time in the issuance process, data entry, amendments, and sending citation information to the court.
The AutoCITE unit looks like a portable credit card reader. But instead of printing out receipts at the top end, the battery-charged machine spits out citations.
To issue a ticket, officers swipe the violator’s driver’s license through a mag-stripe reader and use a key pad to enter the vehicle information, location and violation into the unit. The device contains a memory chip that can store up to 1,000 citations.
At the end of a shift, officers plug the unit into a computer that electronically transfers the data to the court and it recharges at the same time. No sorting or filing is needed.
Stanislaus County officials stated that the grant would provide two of the devices for Oakdale and six to Riverbank.