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Giving tickets made quicker

January 17, 2011

Bourbon Asst. Chief Gary Collins explained that the scanner he’s holding will read a person’s driver’s license and the device held in his right hand will attach to a printer and print out the ticket information. Two Bourbon vehicles will be equipped with the eCWS devices. Photo by Angel Perkins

BOURBON — Police officers from the Bourbon and Plymouth Departments will soon be using the Indiana Supreme Court’s electronic Citation and Warning System (eCWS).
Instead of writing tickets, officers use a hand-held scanner to read bar codes on a drivers’ license and registration. The information on the license and/or registration is automatically entered on the ticket form.
A press release issued from the Judicial Technology and Automation Committee (JTAC) included the following: “eCWS creates an electronic ticket right at the roadside — no scribbled handwriting, no writing multiple citations. The ticket information is stored electronically and officers print out a paper copy for the offender using a handheld or in-car printer.”
The device can also be used for issuing warnings.
“The time needed for a traffic stop is greatly reduced and because the citation information can be transferred electronically, there is no need for the same ticket data to be typed in multiple times by court and clerk staff. More than 2 million tickets have already been created using eCWS and stored in a central repository.
For counties that are also using the Indiana Supreme Court’s Odyssey Case Management System, the ticket data can be transferred to the Prosecutor’s Office and courts where a case number is assigned — all without the need for paper files and repetitious retyping.
Currently, more than 175 Indiana law enforcement departments, including the Indiana State Police, are using eCWS.”
Plymouth Patrolman Derek Workman first learned of a grant that could help procure the devices for his department after attending a session of the prosecutors update.
Workman said he shared the possibility with both the Plymouth police chief and assistant chief who were interested in pursuing the grant. Workman said, “They told me I would be in charge of it.” After Workman followed through on the grant application, the Plymouth Department received seven units.
Workman and Corporal Ray West attended training sessions in Indianapolis on the devices and are in the process of having the needed software, scanners and printers installed in seven of the 11 city vehicles.
Workman said, “The devices will save a little time and certainly make the ticket more legible.” He said the Plymouth officers are called to some 500 accidents per year. He said, “This will help our response time.”
Workman shared the information with Bourbon officials who then applied as well.
Gary Collins, assistant chief and Bourbon Town Council member, said they were able to get two devices and will be heading to Indianapolis Jan. 27 for training on using the units.
Collins said the cost of each unit totals $675 including the training. The e-ticket training for the system is available without charge to local law enforcement or taxpayers.
Collins said they had to provide information on the computer systems in place in Bourbon to make sure the system would be compatible with the devices.
He said, “We have to close down traffic at times when we are writing a ticket. This will help us get the violator on their way quicker so we can clear for traffic,” he said. “There is a drop-down menu on the unit that allows for the officer to click on the citation being issued.”
Bourbon Police Chief Bill Martin said, “We are happy to get them. This new technology will make a safer environment for our officers.”
Bourbon has four full-time officers and four part-time officers.
The eCWS system was created by the Indiana Supreme Court’s Judicial Technology and Automation Committee. More information and a demonstration are online at: www.in.gov-/judiciary/jtac/programs/ecws.html.

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