MADISON COUNTY • It’s still a traffic ticket, but at least it will be an easy-to-read printout.
Some Madison County sheriff’s deputies have begun issuing traffic citations printed out in their squad cars. The idea is to give motorists a cleaner copy, minimize the time an officer is standing along a roadway jotting down information and deliver the information electronically to the circuit clerk’s office.
Sheriff John Lakin and Circuit Clerk Mark Von Nida announced the new system Thursday, but some deputies began issuing “E-citations” last week.
Lt. Joe Halbrooks, the sheriff’s training officer, said the county bought printers for use in some of its 44 patrol cars. Von Nida said the goal is to expand the service to all police agencies in Madison County by the end of 2017.
In July, the Madison County Board approved spending $49,483 for the system from Saltus Technologies, of Tulsa, Okla. The brand name is digitTICKET.
Dina Burch, chief deputy clerk, said Bond County was the first Illinois jurisdiction to use the system. Officials there were satisfied.
Madison County bought the system with money raised through a $5 fee on all tickets requiring court appearances that the Illinois Legislature adopted for this purpose in 2011.
Halbrooks said a major factor for deputies is cutting down on time they are standing next to a stopped car on a busy highway — a dangerous part of their routine. It also will reduce the time a motorist is stopped and allow officers to deliver tickets electronically, cutting down on paperwork from car to sheriff’s office to courthouse.
The features, which allow an officer to scan information from a driver’s license, can reduce the average traffic stop time from about 15 minutes to five minutes or less, Von Nida has said.
Burch said it also will cut down on mistakes, both from unclear handwriting on tickets and input errors as clerks type ticket information into county computers.
Halbrooke said deputies using the system will pick up printers and put them in their cars at the beginning of their shifts. Using car computers, they can print the tickets.
He and Burch said some motorists will continue to receive traditional handwritten tickets as the system is expanded. Burch said all of the county’s municipal departments have expressed interest.