Fresno Police to start giving hi-tech tickets

FRESNO, Calif.

The automated ticket writing systems will eventually just send the ticket information to the court. A clerk will not be needed to individually input each citation in the computer. With the police department facing budget cutbacks, the new technology is a welcome change.

The old way of handwriting traffic tickets in Fresno will soon be replaced with the swipe of a driver's license. Your violation typed in and a printed ticket handed to you in minutes.

Fresno Police Captain, Andy Hall said, "The tickets will be better. They will be easier to read for the violator. They'll be easier for the courts to process and it will be easier for us to track where we are writing our tickets and that's the important thing."

Each year Fresno Police officers write 70 thousand tickets. Copying information is tedious and time consuming. Plus, many tickets are returned by the courts because they are not legible or left incomplete.

"Police say the new system won't mean officers will be writing any more tickets than usual. It will just streamline the citation process, to make it more efficient."

For the first time, the automated system will keep track of drivers who are issued warnings. So if you get pulled over again for the same violation, the officer will have a record of the first stop. Officers say the innovative tool will also help them map out where crashes are occurring and areas that need more or less enforcement.

"If you wanted to know how many red cars we pulled over, we could pull that up into the system. If you wanted to know how many citations we write between 7:00 and 8:00 in the morning we could get that. We don't have any ability to get that right now. So the ability to mine data is going to be tremendous."

Police say the ticket writers are lightweight, great for use in all weather and fully warranted. Plus, they are no cost to the city, compliments of a $300 thousand grant by the California Office of Traffic Safety. That's enough money to equip every traffic officer in Fresno.

The ticket writers can also take pictures when unlicensed or uncooperative drivers are pulled over. Eventually they will also be programmed so officers can fill out forms for traffic accidents. Two officers will start a trial run using the new systems next week.

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