By Mary L. DePrez, Director & Counsel | Trial Court Technology
Beginning in 2008, Trial Court Technology (TCT) partnered with the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI) and developed e-ticketing software for use by law enforcement agencies throughout the state.
Benefits of Indiana’s Electronic Ticketing System
- Eliminates handwritten tickets and the need to enter the same information into a separate database(s)
- Enhances safety of Hoosier streets and highways by identifying dangerous drivers quickly
- Eliminates duplicate entries by law enforcement, courts, clerks, and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles
- Increases accuracy of information—data fields pre-populated from license and registration
- Reduces errors because data is not retyped multiple times
- Gives officers more time to patrol by reducing paperwork
- Saves clerical time for clerks, courts, and agencies because data is transferred electronically
- Improves timeliness by making data available electronically
Using the electronic citation and warning system (eCWS), officers can electronically record citation information in the field. This eliminates the need for redundant manual data entry and drastically reduces administrative work. More importantly, it increases the safety of Hoosier roadways by quickly identifying dangerous drivers and reducing the time needed for a traffic stop.
Today, over 14,000 officers in 3 state agencies, 78 Sheriff Departments, and 379 Police Departments use eCWS.
In 2018, there were 464,627 new court cases created for infraction and ordinance violations statewide. 80% of these cases were filed into the statewide case management system called Odyssey. And, the majority of the cases filed in Odyssey were e-filed thanks to eCWS.
The funding received through ICJI for eCWS has primarily focused on the enforcement of state and federal laws for commercial drivers, whether they are driving a big rig or a personal vehicle. In Indiana, any law enforcement officer can issue a citation or warning to a person holding a commercial driver license (CDL). This focus includes the timely submission of suspension and conviction information for the CDL holder to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles from the local courts handling traffic cases.
One of the grants that TCT received from the United States Department of Transportation was an incentive grant to prohibit racial profiling. The primary objective of this grant was to enact and enforce laws that prohibit the use of racial profiling in the enforcement of traffic laws on Federal-aid highways, and to maintain and allow public inspection of statistics on motor vehicle stops.
Because eCWS has the ability to collect race data, law enforcement agencies can review their citations, including the race data, by agency and by individual officers. When an officer issues a ticket using eCWS software, most of the data populates the e-ticket when the officer scans the barcode on the driver license and vehicle registration. Although race data is not available on the driver license, the officer has the ability to enter the race data into the program. Some agencies require their officers to populate the race field, but it is not a required field in the application.
The final task for TCT under this grant is to make race and ethnicity data from eCWS available on a public website. This site is now available, and the public can search the entire database or search by an individual county.