After August 18, citizens of the city of Ottawa will find it more difficult to fight tickets issued by traffic officers. Gone are the days of hand-written tickets, as the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) will be moving towards electronic ticketing.
“There was a lot of human error in either misspelled streets or an error in entering the section number or the correct fine. All of this could be automated through an electronic ticket and proper applications,” said Rock Lavigne, staff sergeant, e-ticketing operational project manager for the Ottawa Police Service.
According to Tommy Lopez, director of sales for Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Advanced Public Safety (APS), about 30 per cent of tickets in North America are thrown out because of an officer’s sloppy handwriting.
APS is supplying about 45 of Ottawa’s motorcycle traffic officers with the applications that will run on MC50 handheld devices from Symbol Technologies. As well, APS provided the applications to in-car laptop computers.
Last year, the OPS increased its traffic division by 18 officers and the need to move towards e-ticketing increased.
“We realized it would increase the number of tickets through the system; it would tax the system not only internally but at the court house,” said Lavigne.
Not only does e-ticketing reduce human error, but it also removes repetitive work on the part of officers and data entry clerks responsible for entering all the traffic tickets issued during a given day into the Ottawa Police Services’ database.
In the past, Lavigne said, officers at the end of their shift would deposit all the tickets they issued into a box. The data entry clerk would then collect all the tickets from those boxes spread across the OPS’s five buildings in the city and bring them back to one central location for data entry. After that, the ticket would be sent to the courts for a charge to be laid, which then gets sent away again for more data entry of the same data. In addition, the officers needed to write up the ticket four times: for the offender, themselves, the courts and then for payment processing. E-ticketing simplifies this process.
“What the officer is going to do on the side of the road is swipe the driver licence on the handheld. It will auto-populate the driver’s information (name, address, etc.) and, from drop-down boxes, the officers enter the car information, location and violation. Then they hit print,” explained Lopez.
The information is then sent to a portable printer via 802.11 wireless. Lavigne added only three copies of the ticket are now printed as the copy for the officer is eliminated.