Electronic Citation in the Golden State

Posted by | Date:

Gayle DeRose and I recently traveled to Ontario, California as exhibitors at the COPSWEST 2013 Leadership Summit & Expo. We had several products to demonstrate, the key product being our 4910LR, an L-Tron exclusive 2D barcode imager designed to read barcodes and capture images in a patrol vehicle environment.

Ontario Convention Center

It was a great event, with a wide variety of exhibitors. There were exhibitors showing tactical gear of all types from weapons to tactical lights, clothing and accessories. There were plenty of technology vendors including ourselves and there were vehicles of every stripe. Police bicycles, electric police bicycles, motorcycles from Harley Davidson and BMW, electric motorcycles, electric parking enforcement vehicles and the Big Three from Detroit were there in full regalia. There were enormous mobile command centers and one company was displaying their product on a Lamborghini Police Cruiser, pretty much redefining the term Police Cruiser.

Lamborghini Police Cruiser

While our 4910 has multiple use cases (driver’s license barcode reader, signature capture and image capture) its primary application is in electronic citation and the vast majority of attendees I spoke with worked for departments that were still hand-writing their traffic citations, despite having computers in their vehicles.

I was talking to one of our manufacturer partners that I met up with at the event and he told me that research indicated a 6% loss rate on handwritten citations, state-wide in California. That percentage of citation fines are never collected due to errors made in the processes of manual entry and transcription. The citing officer may make an error at the time of the citation (or write something illegible) and the party entering it into the computer system has a second opportunity for error. At a cost of entry well under $1000 per vehicle for a license reader and mobile printer with top-end mounting system, eliminating that citation revenue loss would pay for the equipment in no time.

Stop writer's cramp!

California was one of the last states to implement the PDF417 barcode (AAMVA standard) on their driver’s licenses which may factor into the low electronic citation implementation in the state. I hope we planted some seeds during our visit. You can grow practically anything in California, so here’s hoping. Please feel free to post your comment below or contact me directly with any questions.

Finally, I’d like to offer a sincere thank you to the California Peace Officers Association for hosting a great event. Thanks guys!