Hand-written tickets are a thing of the past for the Dodge City Police Department (DCPD).
Hand-written tickets are a thing of the past for the Dodge City Police Department (DCPD). Roughly two weeks ago, the department began using a digital ticketing system known as digiTICKET. The system allows officers to quickly generate, record and print digital tickets, saving time and elevating the safety of both officers and violators. Chief of Police Craig Mellecker explained the system Wednesday and said despite a few minor glitches, the e-citations have increased department efficiency and eased the flow of information for record-keeping. "We're working on setting it all up for how we want it to work here in Dodge," Mellecker said. And thanks to the advanced technology, the DCPD's devices contain information specific to Dodge City. By scanning the barcode on a driver's license, much like scanning in an item at a grocery store, the digiTICKET device automatically imports the driver's information. Officers can then choose vehicle information, the citation, and just about anything else from a drop down menu. In fact, all of the streets in Dodge City are included in the system and can be found by simply entering the block where the citation is issued. To further speed up the process, Mellecker said the department looked at past records to determine a "Top 25" list of violations. They put those violations at the top of a drop down menu for easy access. "We can include up to eight violations on one ticket," Mellecker said. Officers can continue through the ticketing process as necessary and are prompted by a warning if any important information is missing on the ticket. Upon completion, a hard copy of the ticket is printed on a wireless thermal printer in their patrol vehicle. Mellecker said the system has virtually eliminated problems generated by spelling errors and illegible handwriting, a consequence of any hand-written document. Most convenient though, is the simplicity the digiTICKET system offers at the end of an officer's shift. By placing the device on a charger, all of the recorded citations are synched and sent to a high-security website where they can be accessed online. In the past, citations issued by the police department were taken to the city's municipal court and entered into the court system by hand. "Now, the clerks at municipal court can export the citations off the internet and into their system," Mellecker said. Bonds, fines, court costs and court dates are also included in the e-citation system which can be updated by both the DCPD and municipal court so if the amount of a fine changes, it can be quickly changed in the system. Court dates are also scheduled through the device which is linked to the court calendar and can be modified to accommodate a judge's absence. Another perk involves the scheduling of court dates. Before moving to digiTICKETs, court dates were determined by each officer. Now, court dates are staggered by date of citation and officer last name. "This is really moving us into the future," Mellecker said. The DCPD currently has 16 digiTICKET devices, one in each vehicle of their primary fleet, and one for each School Resource Officer. Extra systems are also available for DUI and seat belt check lanes. The e-citation devices were purchased through a federal grant, according to Mellecker as well as an expenditure of $69,012 approved by the city commission. Follow Abigail on Twitter, @Abigail_dcglobe.