New Orleans will issue its police officers handheld computers from Thinkstream for an electronic citation system that enables officers to issue tickets to offenders and simultaneously upload those tickets to the city's central database, the company announced.
"This extraordinarily cost-effective system will greatly simplify the issuing and processing of citations and warnings in New Orleans, streamlining it from beginning to end, while enhancing officer safety and departmental productivity," Barry Bellue, Thinkstream's president and CEO, said in a release.
When a driver's license and vehicle registration are entered into an officer's handheld computer, the device will auto-fill information about the offending motorist and vehicle into the appropriate blanks on the citation that can then be printed out and issued to the offender. The resulting citation will be more accurate, more legible and require significantly less time to produce, according to the company.
Officials expect the system to have an immediate impact on departmental productivity, as well as a long term effect on officer safety, by reducing the amount of time officers spend by the side of the road, exposed to passing vehicles.
Officers will be able to electronically check DMV records, including the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), to learn if any warrants are on file for the driver or the vehicle in question. Other features include citation "pick lists" that allow officers to select from menus of statutes rather than entering in complex sets of numbers and letters while standing at the side of a busy thoroughfare.
The new system is expected to be operational by the end of February.
Currently New Orleans issues and processes its citations manually, requiring officers to hand carry sheaves of paper citations back to their departments for manual entry into the city's central database. By uploading the citations electronically and automating various data entry, citation management and payment tracking activities, the system will streamline and accelerate the administrative process, while reducing errors and improving conviction rates, according to the company.