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Sacramento police issuing high tech traffic tickets

Sacramento police deploy electronic citation devices

Sacramento Police will no longer write tickets and instead use high tech devices connected to the courthouse.
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Sacramento Police will no longer write tickets and instead use high tech devices connected to the courthouse.

Traffic citations in Sacramento are moving into the 21st century.

The Sacramento Police Department announced Tuesday that all patrol officers will be carrying new electronic citation devices.

That means instead of deciphering the hieroglyphics of written tickets, motorists will now see their violations and court date printed in black ink on glossy white paper.

Officials say the electronic system will make traffic stops quicker and ensure the information collected is accurate.

“It’s just more efficient,” said Officer Curtis Gates, 32, while showing off the machines Tuesday during a demonstration for the media.

Citations were traditionally handwritten on carbon paper, with various color-coded copies manually delivered to the courthouse and police records department.

With the electronic system, the citation information is transmitted directly to both divisions, which should streamline the processing of tickets, Gates said.

The 245 devices purchased cost about $2,700 each, according to Sgt. Justin Brown, police spokesman. The agency is using federal and state grants to cover the tab. Officials hope to equip every patrol car with the device this year.

Other departments in the region also use electronic citation devices, including Elk Grove police.

The 245 devices cost about $2,700 each. The agency is using federal and state grants to cover the tab.

The devices, which are the size of a large smartphone, capture information from the magnetic strip on the back of driver’s licenses. Officers can select the violation from an interactive touch screen menu.

The ability to search various offenses is important because in the past, violations would be written incorrectly, resulting in delays and more paperwork, Gates said. He cited the violation for expired vehicle registration, which should be written as “4000 (a) (1) vc.” But the code was commonly written without the second parenthesis: “4000 (a) 1 vc.”

“The courts would kick it back to us for correction,” Gates said. “Our records department would send another notice out, immensely slowing down the process.”

Richard Chang: 916-321-1018, @RichardYChang

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