When exploring e-citation solutions, MPD connected with Brazos Technology, a College Station, Texas-based company that provides mobile applications for law enforcement and businesses.
The department chose Brazos Technology's electronic citation solution, which includes Brazos software, Motorola® MC75 handheld devices, and Zebra Technologies printers, all connected together wirelessly.
MPD road-tested a couple of different mobile printers, beginning with a pilot with its motorcycle officers. One printer, which uses thermal paper, didn't stand up to the hot and humid Texas border conditions. After baking a while on hot cars, the paper turned brown and became unreadable.
"When we tested Zebra® printers, the paper and print quality were much higher, and we didn't have any problems reading tickets even when they've been sitting in the sun," Eason said.
Since then, the department has expanded e-citation to its vehicle officers. With the software, MPD decides which fields and what standing information to print on each ticket, such as how to pay or contest the citation. In MPD's case, citation instructions print in both English and Spanish for the multi-ethnic population of the area.
When officers encounter unlicensed drivers, they also have the option of capturing and sending a photo of the individual as a means of identification in the absence of proof of name, date of birth, or address.
All of the data that the officers enter for each citation on handheld devices is automatically transmitted back to the court's records system, thereby eliminating duplicate data entry. Officers also easily print the citations on the Zebra mobile printer to hand the offender.
"We can dedicate more of the ticket to the information that offenders need, such as court hours," Eason said.
Additionally, the handheld devices automatically query the offender's name against McAllen's active local warrant list and inform the officer immediately if the offender is wanted. At once, this increases officer safety and the possibility of apprehension, thereby clearing more outstanding warrants.