Monroe County and Rochester, NY police cars to get ticket technology

By Greg Livadas
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Monroe County sheriff''s deputies and Rochester police officers will soon have the ability to generate an accident report, write a traffic ticket and produce a supporting deposition in the fraction of the time it now takes to write them by hand.

Federal grants totaling $450,000 were awarded to the two departments Thursday by state Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Raymond P. Martinez, who also heads the governor''s Traffic Safety Committee.

The money will be used to install the Traffic and Criminal Software (TraCS) program, which includes hand-held scanners, printers and in some cases laptop computers. The program will be installed in nearly 200 patrol cars.

"The days of the crumpled-up piece of paper that you received on the roadside that you couldn''t read are almost gone," Martinez said.

Using a computer in the patrol car, the officer will type in information for a traffic ticket or accident form. The officer can also scan the bar code or take pictures of a driver''s license, registration and insurance form and print out an immediate supporting deposition, or summary of an accusation.

That information also can be downloaded easily and sent to a substation or the DMV in Albany, enabling it to have more current data about tickets and accidents.

Martinez said TraCS will improve officers'' safety by enabling them to clear the scenes of traffic stops more quickly.

"It will also allow our police officers to get back to other proactive work," said Rochester Deputy Chief Timothy Hickey.

The TraCS system, tested first in Iowa three years ago, is already being used by troopers on the New York state Thruway and by police in Erie, Westchester and Albany counties.

Greece police also use TraCS. The town paid $120,000 for it last year, said Police Chief Merritt Rahn. Martinez said other departments, including Greece, can apply for grants to install the system in patrol cars not already equipped with TraCS.

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