The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

May 18, 2013

Digital success: EPD uses technology for writing tickets the past year

By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Enid Police Department is seeing success in the use of digital ticket writers in the little over a year the department has been using the devices.

The first 10 were purchases last April and another 10 were purchased in the following months. Since the DigiTicket writers have been in use, 13,700 digital tickets have been issued, as paper tickets are all but phased out.

Capt. Dean Grassino said every officer at the department has been transitioning to digital tickets.

The devices can scan a driver’s license, inputting the information into the device and eliminating misspellings due to human error.

Officers use drop-down menus on the device to issue citations, which are printed on a portable printer kept in the officer’s car. If multiple citations are issued, the officer can include up to eight citations on one digital ticket.

Tickets can be issued for any violation of city of Enid ordinance, not just traffic violations.

The devices also can take photographs and the scanner also can be used on the barcodes of license plates and VIN barcodes. Information inputed into the device is downloaded into the department’s computer system and to the city court clerk’s office.

“They’re more efficient, if you have multiple citations to write, instead of filling it out over and over again,” he said. “Once they get used to it, it’s pretty user- friendly. The tickets are uniform and neat.”

Grassino said the tickets not only save time during traffic stops, but also saves time from eliminating the need for data entry.

“For the city court clerks office, they like it because they can import the files and there is a lot less data entry,” the captain said. “It saves a lot of time on data entry.”

Having the information in a digital format also allows for other tools to be used, such as those that find how many and what types of tickets are being written.

“If I want to see what particular ticket an officer is writing or see what the most common ticket being written is, its easy for me to do,” Grassino said. “It’s more efficient all the way through the process — from the stop to the legal system.”

Traffic Division Sgt. Justin Hodges said all officers have received training on operating the devices, which are given to officers at the beginning of their shift.

“Mainly, we’re all writing digital tickets,” he said. “It makes it a lot easier. It fills in all the driver’s license number and address information. All you have to do is fill in the offense information and you’re done.”

The tickets can be printed and copies given to those cited. Tickets for nontraffic-related crimes can be printed at the station and attached to an arrest report, if needed.

Hodges said each time the devices are updated, more states are added to the system so the DigiTicket writers can scan licenses from more states.

“The ticket writers just make it a lot quicker and more efficient to the officer and the person receiving the citation,” Chief Brian O’Rourke said.

Grassino said this year 5,400 digital tickets, both warnings and citations, have been issued.

The most common ticket issued is for speeding, but it varies from officer to officer.

“It depends on what the officer’s assignment is,” Grassino said. “It really kind of varies.”

He said traffic officers are going to write more tickets for speeding violations. Whereas a patrolman likely would write more tickets for violations such as seat belts, equipment violations, no insurance or running stop signs.