Recently, I had the opportunity to attend my first Empire State Law Enforcement Traffic Safety Conference (ESLETS), hosted by the New York State Police. The event is held annually to promote best practices across NYS law enforcement agencies. As a first-time attendee, I found the trip to be a memorable learning experience.
I traveled to the 2022 ESLETS conference with my co-workers, Julianne and Charlie, both of whom have attended the event in past years and were great resources for me. We packed up our 4910LR and OSCR360 System, along with several table displays, banners, backdrops, pens and conference swag. Then, we were on our way to Syracuse, NY for a few days of networking, and meeting with Law Enforcement officers.
The 2022 ESLETS Conference Takeaways
Upon arrival, I discovered that this year’s conference would take the concept of traffic safety a step further, focusing specifically on the impacts of distracted driving and driving under the influence. I didn’t realize how much drug prevalence has been on the rise since the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2020 study of seriously or fatally injured road users (Thomas et al., 2020) found that 56% of drivers involved in fatal crashes tested positive for at least one drug (NHTSA, 2020). As a result of increases in pandemic-related drug use and the legalization of marijuana in NYS, Officers need to be on high alert for under-the-influence drivers.
How did these statistics influence this year’s conference? Well, there were ten guest speakers, offering their expertise on topics ranging from traffic safety while on patrol to motorists driving under the influence of marijuana to safe driving advocacy. Overall, I found the ESLETS presentations to be authentic, engaging, and extremely powerful.
I was particularly moved by guest speaker Kimberly Schlau, a mother of two girls who lost their lives in a fatal crash with a State Trooper. At the time of the 2007 collision, the Trooper was speeding over 120 mph while completing other tasks in his patrol car. Schlau’s presentation hit home for me because it was so personal and preventable, had the Trooper been abiding by traffic safety rules. No one should ever have to go through such a terrible tragedy. Since the collision, Schlau has become an advocate for traffic safety, attending events like ESLETS to tell her story. I highly recommend attending one of her presentations if you have the opportunity.
Another impactful guest speaker was Wicomico County Sheriff Michael Lewis. His presentation, “Traffic Enforcement is Criminal Enforcement,” detailed several traffic stops that resulted in violence from motorists. One story in particular stood out to me: a motorist pulled out a gun with the intention of harming the Officer who had pulled him over for speeding. The Officer’s body camera documented everything, including all the ways the Officer tried to disengage the motorist. Sheriff Lewis played the footage, frequently pausing to explain what the Officer was doing or saying and why the Officer’s strategies were effective or ineffective. I found it fascinating that rather than presenting a list of bullet points on what Officers should and shouldn’t do at traffic stops, Sheriff Lewis effectively demonstrated life-saving protocol with powerful real-life footage.
At the L-Tron Booth
During my time at the L-Tron booth, I discovered that most of the Officers in attendance had either worked with L-Tron in the past or had heard about us from another department. It was great to chat with Officers from agencies across the state and to hear about their experiences first-hand. I felt proud to be at ESLETS representing a company that develops technology from the voice of Officers, helping to make their jobs a little bit easier. It’s exciting to have an impact in my state and local communities.
Officers Know (and love) the 4910LR
L-Tron’s 4910LR Driver’s License Scanner was a hot topic at our booth this year. Coincidentally, the NYS TraCS (Traffic and Criminal Software) team was at the booth directly across from us. This was really neat because the 4910LR works hand-in-hand with TraCS, as well as most other eCitation software. In fact, the TraCS team had our 4910LR scanners at their table to demonstrate how police officers can complete fast, accurate eCitations and accident reports from their patrol vehicles.
Believe it or not, I hadn’t had an opportunity to use the 4910LR prior to ESLETS, so I was thrilled when the Lieutenant at the TraCS booth offered to help me through the process of completing an eCitation. First, I scanned my own driver’s license with the 4910LR. The information from my license was automatically filled into the eCitation form. It was so quick and easy, even for a rookie like myself.
Next, the Lieutenant showed me how to use the 4910 to capture and attach a gray-scale image to the notes section of the TraCS citation. He explained how Officers can use this feature to take pictures of damage to the motorist’s vehicle, document a license plate or other notable images from the roadside. It was interesting to see how the 4910 improves officer safety – allowing Officers to keep their attention on the road and the vehicle in front of them. Out in the field, Officers have to keep their eyes on their surroundings, and maintain situational awareness, all while simultaneously completing an electronic citation with the 4910LR.
You can view more information on the 4910LR here.
Agencies Enjoyed Using OSCR360
OSCR360 was another big talking point at our booth this year, as many Officers came to chat with us about setting up demos or training sessions for their departments. Charlie walked several attendees through how to use the OSCR Capture Kit and the OSCR software at crash and crime scenes. Agencies were especially impressed with the fluid movement between spherical images within OSCR’s presentation software. Software viewers can easily switch between OSCR’s spherical photos, standard DSLR images captured at the scene, and even documents or other files that have been uploaded into the OSCR project.
One crash reconstructionist shared with us that his department had purchased an OSCR system. He was eager to use OSCR to document a crash scene – the unit was currently owned by the investigations division. He also expressed interest in placing OSCR in the front seat of a wrecked vehicle to show driver’s perspective and to capture damage/evidence under the dashboard.
Thank you for having us, ESLETS!
Overall, I left the 2022 ESLETS conference feeling like my time there had been well-spent. Our team made new connections with Officers and agencies, plus we had the chance to talk with partnering Law Enforcement departments from across the state. It was also good to spend time with our friends from TRACs. Best of all, it was nice to learn from Julianne and Charlie and to spend time together outside of the L-Tron office walls. Until next year, ESLETS.