High-Tech tickets

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 4, 2006

RICH SQUARE – New technology is making life easier for Rich Square Police Chief Alan Roye.

“The program is called E-Citation and is administered through the North Carolina Court System,” Roye said. “We are the first law enforcement department in the area involved in the new program.”

When Roye stops a motorist for a traffic violation, instead of writing the ticket by hand, the E-Citation program allows Roye to enter the information into a mobile computer. The data is immediately recorded and sent to the Northampton Clerk of Court office in Jackson.

“We had to mail or hand-deliver the tickets in the past,” Roye said. “This new technology saves time for law enforcement officers and court officials, allowing officers to spend more time on patrol.

Without this technology, officers deliver their handwritten tickets to the courthouse where the Clerk of Court makes courtroom assignments, stamps the courtroom number and file number on the ticket, separates tickets by court date and files the tickets alphabetically in filing cabinets. The clerk also enters all information into their computer system.

Three days before the court date, when the calendar is printed, the clerk pulls the ticket and the citations are taken to the courtroom. If there is a continuance or a no-show, the process is repeated.

E-Citation technology cuts paperwork and eliminates these redundant and labor-intensive steps.

“We’ve had the mobile computers with the radio modem since 2003,” Roye said. “The mobile computer allows us to connect to the state’s network.

“The North Carolina Court System provided the software and printer for the E-Citation program to the Rich Square Police Department for free,” Roye said. “They also provided training.”

According to Roye, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol also uses the E-Citation technology.

“We started using the system last week and everything works great so far,” Roye continued. “My dad told me the patrol car looks like an F-16 cockpit now with all of the gadgets we have.

“I pursued this program once the North Carolina Court System notified us it was available,” Roye said. “It is not mandatory.

“The Rich Square Police Department has always been very proactive, especially when it comes to traffic safety,” Roye said. “We have a low motor vehicle accident rate and I believe this is why.”

According to the North Carolina Court System, more than 700,000 traffic citations are issued each year across the state.

“We are very fortunate to have this technology,” Roye concluded.