Pulling over a motorist to write a citation for a traffic infraction is something most patrol officers and deputies have done in their careers. And the one thing these so-called "routine traffic stops" have in common is they can be time consuming. Even in the most standard circumstances, this process can take as much as 10 minutes.
During that 10 minutes officers are on the roadside and exposed to serious danger. According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, four officers in 2019 have been struck by vehicles and killed while conducting traffic stops. There are no available statistics for the number of officers injured in these operations.
Part of the reason traffic stops take so much time and expose officers to so much danger is the cumbersome processes officers go through to record citation information. This is especially true when officers use paper-based processes or automated systems that are not intuitive enough to meet the needs of the user and that require data to be re-entered repeatedly.
Tyler Technologies' Brazos eCitation solutions can reduce the time officers spend on the roadside and automate processes, making officers both safer and more efficient.
A typical traffic stop—meaning one where there is just one violation and the driver is not wanted—takes approximately 8 to 10 minutes from the moment the officer initiates the stop to the moment he or she gets back into the patrol car and drives away. This time increases exponentially in the event of a motorist having an active warrant or if the officer issues multiple citations for additional infractions.
Regardless of whether an officer is using paper-based processes or an automated ticketing solution, collecting data begins from the moment the stop is initiated. Officers using paper-based processes are required to manually fill out all details on the ticket form from the driver's license information to the VIN numbers to the registration details. Entering these details manually leaves room for error, which could result in the ticket being dismissed once it reaches the court. In addition to officer error problems, hand writing tickets results in numerous issues with legibility that can also lead to rejection of tickets by the court.
The workflow involved in these antiquated processes also means the transfer of data tends to be manually input into a law enforcement records management system and the courts system.
This process is further delayed when individuals working in records or courts need to clarify information with officers.
When agencies leave antiquated and paper-based ticketing processes behind and replace them with a device-independent electronic citation solution that automates and expedites the ticketing process, data is captured accurately and securely stored and delivered. Officers are also more efficient and—for reasons discussed—they are safer. In addition, civilian staff working with records and court applications have the data they need without having to decipher illegible handwriting.
Tyler Technologies' Brazos eCitation solution provides this level of efficiency and works on any smartphone, tablet, or ticket writer. Using a built-in or USB scanner, data can be pulled automatically from a driver's license, VIN, and registration. Once these items are swiped or scanned, the information auto-populates directly into the citation. This data is stored locally, regardless of internet connection.
Officers can also use Brazos to capture photos, which is particularly beneficial in situations when violators claim they were not the one behind the wheel. Brazos even offers audio recording capability, which officers can use in the field to collect details about the incident.
With Brazos, signatures from violators are obtained on the scene. The violator receives the ticket and the data is stored, so it can then be shared with records and courts applications.
The records of the citation are then transferred via Wi-Fi, cellular connectivity, or batch upload for processing into an agency' s predefined record or court system. With secure data-sharing processes, vital information is instantly accessible by dispatch, records, and court personnel.
Because of these capabilities, Brazos has been credited with completing a traffic stop in as little as 90 seconds—from start to finish.
An agency's electronic citation solution should improve the ticketing process, keep officers safe, and get motorists back on the road as quickly as possible. Brazos users say that's exactly what it does for them.
When a California agency wanted to take their ticketing processes to the next level, they turned to Brazos to streamline the ticket process and become more efficient. The agency's process was improved through the reduction of redundant data entry, by the ability to quickly and easily transfer information from the police department to records and court applications, and through reduced errors generated through illegible penmanship.
By implementing Brazos, this agency was able to leverage technology to reduce the number of citations rejected by the courts and improve the efficiency of the overall ticketing process. In the first 30 days of using Brazos, this agency wrote more than 850 citations with just 10 motor officers in the field. Within the first six months of going live on the solution, this agency processed more than 8,300 citations.
Dana Rasmussen is the senior content specialist for Tyler Technologies' public safety division.