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Kane County, IL

County Expedites Traffic Stops with Fast, Streamlined Ticket Printing

Kane County

Compact Printers Fit Easily in Squad Cars and Support "Green" Efforts with Less Paper Use

Kane County, Ill., in the Chicago metropolitan area, is home to more than 500,000 people. It comprises 524 square miles containing 16 townships and 30 cities and towns.

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The Challenge

No one enjoys getting a traffic ticket. But at least the experience should be as quick and painless as possible for officers, citizens and administrative staff.

That's the driving force behind an initiative in six greater Chicago area counties. Circuit court clerks from the counties of Kane, Will, DuPage, McHenry, Cook and DeKalb are switching to electronic citation systems to nearly eliminate data entry throughout the public safety and court systems.

As the counties move from traditional handwritten tickets to generating tickets from mobile laptops, they need a way to print tickets legibly and without consuming too much space in squad cars. When one county tried an impact printer with pre-printed forms, the units required too much cab space and were nearly impossible to load straight, making them print illegibly.

"The biggest complaint with the old printers was that they were constantly jamming or printed in the wrong spaces," said Tim Bosshart, Commander, Carpentersville Police Department.

The Solution

In order to address these concerns, Kane County has turned to Advanced Public Safety (APS) and Zebra Technologies. For the citation software, the counties use QuickTicket™ from APS. With it, officers issue citations via laptops, auto-populating an electronic version of the state's citation form. They can obtain data from motor vehicle queries, or from a swipe or scan of the offender's driver's license.

That system reduces the time for officers to issue citations and eliminates the need for law enforcement to rekey data back at their offices—replacing a time-consuming, error-prone process.

When Kane County began looking for printers, it chose the Zebra® RW 420™ mobile printer based on a recommendation by APS. Just over six inches wide, the direct thermal printers fit easily in squad cars—on the floor under a laptop – and are built to withstand the harsh demands of the field.

"The Zebra thermal printer is more rugged, more compact and uses all the paper so we don't have waste," said Deborah Seyller, Clerk of the Circuit Court, Kane County.


Nearly all city governments in Kane County are in the process of adopting the new system for traffic, parking, towing and other citations. Depending on the type of ticket, officers can print instructions for offenders narrowed down to the type of offense, such as details about notices to appear—even in multiple languages. With more information on tickets than before, offenders have everything they need to know regarding next steps.

Previously, the county purchased books of paper tickets. If an officer issued multiple tickets, the paper use added up quickly. Plus, because fields were static, any changes required by the state or municipality required them to reprint those forms.

With the Zebra printer, officers can print all tickets together without any wasted paper. The county can also easily add fields in the software to include more information on tickets as needed.

"The green aspect of printing is one of the biggest benefits. All the tickets are together so we save paper," Seyller said. "We also don't lose money by having to throw away pre-printed forms when the state mandates a change."

Offenders also no longer have the excuse of not being able to read tickets. Officers present printed tickets that are legible, which reduces confusion and calls to the police and county offices.

In addition to the thermal printer's compact in-car footprint, it has proven more durable than other printers that various municipalities have tried. Most importantly, simple printing on one continuous stream of paper reduces the time to issue citations, expediting traffic stops.

"After a successful trial of the Zebra printers, we are looking forward to rolling them out to the entire force," Bosshart added.