Milledgeville Police Department
MILLEDGEVILLE PO ACHIEVES FASTER, SAFER TRAFFIC STOPS WITH E-CITATION
The promise of faster, safer ticketing and less back end data entry makes e-citatlon very attractive for police departments. Like police departments nationwide, Milledgeville PO encountered the typical challenges of manual traffic and parking enforcement; handwriting tickets made for long traffic stops, and introduced errors at the point of issuance and when dispatchers had to re-enter data in the court system later-entry that took hours each day.
But the cost of a-citation put it out of reach for Milledgeville. "We had been thinking about going to e-crtatron. bUI as a small police department we didn't have the budget" said Allen Cowart, Communications Supervisor.
Milledgeville PD found a way to deploy e-citation–as well as cutting edge license plate recognition (LPR) technology. Working with gtechna, an e-citations integrator and Zebra partner, the department funded the project through a unique pay-per-ticket electronic citations solution. gtechna develops solutions to automate monitoring, issuance and management of law enforcement activities for traffic, parking and by-law agencies in North America.
Milledgeville is the first in the nation to deploy e-citation and LPR together through a pay-per-ticket program. gtechna’s program enables departments to pay for the solution out of tickets issued, eliminating any upfront costs. The department went from manual ticket issuance to a high-tech setup in patrol vehicles, including Lenovo laptops and Panasonic Toughbooks, 3M LPR cameras, and Zebra RW420 printers, the latter of which the department chose based on gtechna’s recommendation.
“Zebra came highly recommended for its reliability and durability for the rugged market,” Cowart said.
For Milledgeville, rugged means standing up to humidity and temperatures in excess of 160 degrees in closed vehicles in the Georgia summer. The direct-thermal printers take up very little space in patrol cars or parking carts, and monitor battery life automatically.
The department rolled out e-citation to all traffic and parking officers. When an officer makes a traffic stop, he or she scans the individual’s driver’s license to populate the system and the ticket automatically.
Officers enter only the type of violation and case number manually. The officer prints out a ticket in the vehicle and hands it to the driver.
“Our officers love e-citation, the ease of it. They just type in the court case number and choose a violation code, and in a couple of clicks it’s done,” Cowart said. gtechna configured Milledgeville’s ticket layout with the required information. The front includes the license information, tag number, offense and a comments field while the back comes pre-printed with wording required by the state.
Two patrol vehicles are outfitted with LPR cameras, a force multiplier that flags motorists with violations such as suspended or expired licenses and expired tags (unpaid insurance)–violations that are not usually discovered unless a routine traffic stop is made. Parking officers have a similar setup. They carry handheld devices and carts with LPR cameras and the RW420 printers. LPR cameras scan tags of parked vehicles, pull vehicle and location information, and automatically record the length that they have been in spots. When a ticket is necessary, officers simply print it out and leave it on the windshield.
Twice a day, a clerk uploads traffic and parking violation data wirelessly to Milledgeville’s court system, eliminating data entry for dispatchers.
I believed the technology could bring our agency to the forefront in law enforcement. Now I can confirm that adopting this technology was the right move.
For the small police department, deploying e-citation and LPR is a dream come true–made possible by the pay-per-violation model with gtechna. MPD brought in the technology without any upfront costs and a portion of the proceeds from each ticket goes to pay for the technology.
In fact, the system is funded by those breaking laws, not by taxpayers. Within two hours of deploying LPR, the Milledgeville PD recovered $9,100 from scofflaw violations like unpaid registration.
“It was clear from the outset that pay-per-ticket was a low-risk, highly beneficial solution,” said Milledgeville Police Chief Dray Swicord. “We did not have the funds, but I believed the technology could bring our agency to the forefront in law enforcement. Now I can confirm that adopting this technology was the right move.”
E-citation and LPR together dramatically change enforcement for Milledgeville PD. By eliminating nearly all manual entry, each traffic stop is now three times faster, on average. Officers spend less time with each offender and can stop more violators.
“It’s a safer situation for officers,” Cowart said. “With computers mounted at eye level and just two things to enter, they don’t have to take their eyes off offenders.”
Ticket data also gets into the court system faster with imports each morning and evening. That frees dispatchers, who previously entered data, to handle incoming calls. With an average ticket volume of about 800 per month, with more during the school year, that’s more than 25 tickets a day they no longer need to enter.
“Now our dispatchers can focus on being dispatchers, which is really important now that it’s back to school and our call volume has increased,” Cowart said.
The Zebra printers held up perfectly throughout the Georgia summer.
Additionally, tickets left on windshields weathered the rain, heat and humidity well.
For a small police department, the real impact is the ability to accomplish more with the same size force. Milledgeville can catch more violators, keeping the historic town safer.