Writing traffic tickets moves into digital age

Sitting on the side of the road in front of the blinking lights of a police squad car for 20 minutes while the officer writes a ticket is painful to the pride.
A Tulsa company is cutting in half the time police need to write traffic tickets. The bad news — at least for the pocketbook — is police have time to write more tickets.
Tulsa-based MacroSolve, 1717 S. Boulder Ave., Suite 700, and its division Anyware Mobile Solutions are developing electronic ticketing to save police time while saving local governments money, said Eric Fultz, Anyware’s vice president.
Anyware introduced its digiTicket in May. It allows police officers to enter driver information automatically by scanning the drivers license barcode. Anyware’s digiTicket serves several police departments throughout the state and is expanding nationwide this year.
In a matter of minutes, officers can enter multiple violations and capture the driver’s signature electronically, Fultz said.
“The reduced time to issue tickets decreases the minutes an officer is standing roadside, where they are exposed to unnecessary risk,” Fultz said.
In 2008, the leading cause of death among U.S. police officers was being struck by a vehicle. The reduced use of paper combined with the time saved in elimination of manual data entry at ticket processing points allows police departments to cut operating costs around ticket processing, Fultz said.
With a click of a button, the data entered on the hand held moves directly into the record management systems.
It is estimated that 10 to 15 percent of all tickets are unusable — ruined because of errors on paper tickets or illegible handwriting. City revenues can increase through a reduction in those errors, Fultz said.
And, on the back end, record clerks have to take what the officer has written and type that into the computer, said Michael Carter, Sand Springs assistant chief of police.
This year, Anyware Mobile has sold units to Sand Springs and Krebs. Broken Arrow deployed in July.
In April 2008, Sand Springs issued 700 tickets a month. After the start of 2009, the city cut two positions. With two fewer officers, the number of citations issued dwindled to 500 a month. But once the city started using the digiTicket devices, the number rose.
“This past June we issued 1,000,” Carter said.
The units employed by Sand Springs paid for themselves by August, Fultz said.
“We see a less-than-six-month payback,” he said.
Sand Springs was so impressed, the department ordered 16 more units, Carter said.
“If you went to Walmart and they handed you a handwritten receipt, you would think they were crazy,” he said. “But this is the same thing. We are handing people a handwritten receipt.”

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