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December 14, 2004
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Software Speeds Up Ticket Writing For N.Y. Police

Albany police officer Bill Wilson sits in a patrol car quipped with the Traffic And Criminal Software system. (Photo: Paul Munson / WNYT)

If Albany, N.Y. police pull you over for a traffic violation, there''s one small consolation: you may not be stopped for long thanks to new equipment designed to speed up the police officer''s work.

Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Raymond Martinez, who''s also the chairman of the governor''s Traffic Safety Committee, was in Albany talking about a $13,000 grant that pays for two Albany cruisers to be equipped with a program called Traffic And Criminal Software, also known as TRACS.

For officers equipped with TRACS there will be no more pen on paper. Instead, police wave a scanner over your driver''s license. Your data gets recorded into a computerized form and in about half the time it takes an officer to write out a ticket by hand, you''ll be holding a ticket on an eight-and-a-half-by-11-inch sheet of paper and easy to read.

That means more efficient record keeping and more importantly more officers available to answer emergency calls for service, police Cmdr. Aaron Flanger explained.

Police officer Bill Wilson also said the system will improve safety for police and the people they pull over because they''ll spend less time on the side of the road.

Martinez says police in Iowa were first to use the program several years ago. Since then it''s been used in New York in Erie, Monroe and Warren counties.

It''ll help all the way down the line because the days of the crumpled up paper summons are over, quickly going to become over, because this all an electronic process, Martinez said.

When an officer ends his shift, he''ll push a button on his computer to send that day''s ticket information to computers at the DMV and the court system.

Martinez says it''ll take years and many millions of dollars to get every police cruiser in the state equipped with TRACS.

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