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Norcross, Suwanee using E-tickets
Police forces first to adopt high-tech system in metro Atlanta

NORCROSS - Next time you're pulled over for a traffic violation in the city of Norcross, at least the costly - and often embarrassing - process will be over more quickly.

And for police, it'll also be safer.

Beginning Friday, the Norcross Police Department activated equipment that makes hard-to-read, handwritten traffic tickets all but obsolete.

The department equipped 26 patrol cars with a high-tech system called E-Ticketing, a computerized method of entering driver info, storing it and printing out citations like cash register receipts. Norcross joins the Suwanee Police Department as the first two agencies in metro Atlanta to adopt the technology, Norcross police spokeswoman Pamela Wilson said.

If the E-Ticketing system is Google, its handwritten predecessors are a stack of encyclopedias.

"The general idea is to be more efficient," Wilson said. "A lot of tickets get thrown out" because of error-ridden or illegible handwriting, she said.

Instead of hand-writing info on paper tickets, police key driver's license numbers into a device that retrieves information from the Department of Motor Vehicles, Wilson said. Citation information is automatically transmitted to DMV databases and police headquarters.

Aside from boosting productivity, the system ups the safety level of patrol officers. Shorter roadside stops equal less time officers can be harmed by either passing motorists or suspects, Wilson said.

E-Ticketing systems slash the average time it takes to issue a paper ticket - 10 to 15 minutes - to two or three minutes, Wilson said.

The $247,000 system, developed by St. Louis-based ITI USA, includes upgraded mapping and records management technology. It was paid for with drug money seized by federal authorities, Wilson said.

Norcross police Capt. Brian Harr said the department has been pulling for the equipment for some time.

"This should eliminate all (handwriting errors)," Harr said. "This is what we were looking for."

In Suwanee, police used seized drug cash to put 22 E-Ticketing devices on the streets last year.

So far, so good. The system has eliminated the wasted time and human error caused by handing the previous carbon-copy variety between record departments, said Suwanee police spokesman Capt. Clyde Byers.

"I think most of the guys really like (the system)," Byers said. "It's taken out having to sit down and manually enter those dang tickets by hand."