By Michael Campbell News Editor
DINWIDDIE – Supervisors unanimously agreed to allow the Dinwiddie Sheriff’s Office move forward on a new pilot program that would involve the use of e-citation software for the county’s deputies.
According to county documents, using funds from a May 2015 ordinance that allowed for the collection of a $5 fee for each traffic and criminal case in which a defendant is convicted of a violation of any statute of state or local law, Dinwiddie will be working with College Station, Texas-based Tyler Technologies to implement a e-summons program with ten users.
As of Nov. 10, 2016, a total of $42,970 in those fees have been collected, with just under $33,000 of those fees being used toward this new program. According to Sheriff D.T. Adams, funding for the ten user pilot program will come exclusively from these funds.
The company providing the services to Dinwiddie explained the rationale for shifting from paper to electronic summons and how Brazos, Tyler Technologies’ e-citation program, can help local agencies.
“Rather than writing citations by hand, which requires re-entry into the court and police records management systems, Brazos gives officers the ability to enter citation information directly from their electronic device, which is then automatically uploaded to the agency’s system,” the company explained.
According to Tyler Technologies, implementing an e-citation program would allow deputies to reduce time spent on traffic stops, increase officer and violator safety, eliminate data entry errors on citations, and require “minimal Information Technology support.”
As the sheriff’s office worked to select a vendor for the e-summons program, they partnered with the county’s Information Technology Department to find a suitable company for the project, with Tyler Technologies being recommended by Dinwiddie’s existing RMS, Mobile and CAD vendor.
Finding ways to increase efficiency in law enforcement, particularly in the issuing of warnings and citations, is something many departments around the commonwealth and the country.
A similar program was implemented by the Roanoke Police Department, which employs over 200 officers and serves nearly 100,000 residents.
According to a detailed analysis of the program before it’s implementation, Roanoke PD authorities stated that rolling up an e-citation system “could save RPD 3,000 work hours for redistribution to other tasks of $51,000-$82,000 per year.”
Similar to Dinwiddie, Roanoke Police implemented the e-summons system as part of a pilot program, outfitting five police cruisers with citation software, tablets, printers and a scanning device as part of a four-stage rollout across 70 police vehicles.
While it is unknown how much money the sheriff’s office would save by switching to an e-summons program, the eCitation Coalition believes implementing such programs will “improve safety for law enforcement officers as well as realize budget savings, recapture revenue lost to errors common in paper citation systems, and increase overall taxpayer and public satisfaction.”
“eCitation systems can lead to more than a 50 percent reduction in ticketing time, reducing exposure time and getting citizens back on the road quicker,” the coalition which represents a number of manufacturers and distributors, including Brazos and Tyler Technologies, explained.
In addition, the coalition noted, “For a city that issues 60,000 citations a year, some $560,000 in revenue could be saved each year through the use of eCitation technology,” adding that the technology “reduces citation processing from 12 days to seconds.”
Dinwiddie County Administrator Kevin Massengill will now work to execute a contract with Tyler Technologies to purchase the software from the company as part of the new pilot program.
Copyright 2016 by Womack Publications