NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The next time you get pulled over for a speeding ticket in New Orleans, you may not see the officer reach for his ticket book. But don't get too excited. The NOPD is preparing to ditch the old ticket books for a hand-held scanner that will electronically issue tickets in seconds. Police say the new technology is now in the pipeline for use by NOPD officers. The department is preparing to launch this electronic citation pilot program that they say will help reduce time spent writing tickets, processing paperwork and delivering summons and traffic tickets to court each day.
DigiTicket is designed to allow officers to electronically issue tickets for violations in seconds, which will allow officers to spend more time patrolling. It'll also mean drivers have less time sitting on the side of the road waiting for the ticket-writing process to be completed. It also helps eliminate paperwork and duplicate tasks from ticket creation to data entry. Police say It uses a specially-designed handheld computer or scanner connected to a laptop or tablet to scan driver licenses, capture vehicle information and issue citations.
"Once we successfully pilot the technology, NOPD will have the ability to establish a mechanism to electronically issue traffic citations and municipal summons and affidavits in the field," said Ben Horowitz, Director of Analytics for NOPD. "Officers will electronically scan driver licenses and NOPD will be able to modify the electronic police reporting system and the field interview card system. The result will not only be time savings for officers, but also cleaner and more accurate data that can be utilized for person-based crime analysis."
Under the current system, officers write tickets the old fashioned way – by hand – and the legibility of each one depends on each officer's penmanship. The next step is for officers to take citations to a supervisor for their review/sign off at the end of their shift, and the day's tickets are bundled with all of the other citations written that day throughout the city's eight police districts and taken to the court by a police officer. There a data entry operator must decipher each officer's handwriting and enter the information into the system electronically.
Felix Loicano, a retired NOPD Major currently serving as a member of the reserve division is shepherding the project. Loicano, a former Chief of Detectives, was recruited for the position by Deputy Chief of Operations Paul Noel.
"It's a good program – eight law enforcement agencies in Louisiana are already using it," said Loicano. "We're working with the developers now to tweak it and make it work better for NOPD's needs. Then we'll launch it as a pilot program in the Third District and the Traffic Division."
NOPD selected the Third District for the pilot program based on the high volume of traffic through the area each day as well as the size of district's geographical footprint.
In addition to saving manpower hours DigiTicket will improve data so it can be determined if an individual has received a previous traffic ticket or a warning. The program will also allow NOPD to conduct data analysis on citations to determine such factors as where and when summons are being issued, how many, what types, etc. Officers will also be able to see how many warnings or citations have been issued to an individual for violation of a specific ordinance.