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Bar News - May 17, 2013

State Police System Streamlines Traffic-Ticket Processing

Local Police Departments Now Testing Software

New Hampshire State Police are now using an "eTicket" system that issues a traffic ticket by computer from the trooperís cruiser and then automatically transmits the data to the NH Department of Safety, Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), where information is then sent electronically to the Judicial Branch case management system, resulting in more efficient and more accurate record keeping.

"This collaborative effort by the Departmentís Division of State Police, Motor Vehicles, staff from the Department of Information Technology, and the Judicial Branch is a great example of what can be accomplished by working together toward a shared goal that ultimately will benefit everyone in the criminal justice system, and the citizens of the State of New Hampshire," Commissioner John Barthelmes of the Department of Safety said.

A similar eTicket process, using different software technology, is now being tested by police departments in Salem, Pelham and Windham and could be available to 140 local law enforcement agencies within the next six months.

The eTicket system, used by State Police for the past year, is the first step toward establishing a central data bank that would also include eTicketing by more than 200 local police departments that now issue traffic tickets manually. All DMV data on contested traffic violations from eTickets, issued by State Police on the scene or from paper tickets issued by local police, is now sent electronically to the Circuit Courts. Electronic transmission from DMV eliminates the need for court staff to re-enter data from paper tickets into the courtís case management system, a time-consuming process that can result in transcription errors. More than 54,000 tickets for traffic violations are handled in the Circuit Courts annually.

"Every effort made to streamline the data-collection process, so that information is entered once into a shared system decreases the potential for errors and creates efficiencies that allow our court staff more time to process cases and serve the public," Circuit Court Administrative Judge Edwin Kelly said. "Our collaboration with the Department of Safety is essential to reaching that goal," Kelly said.

The ability for state agencies and the courts to share information electronically, even though they use different computer systems, is made possible through ongoing development of the "Justice-One Network Environment" or J-ONE.

J-ONE centers on a data communications "switch," operated at the Department of Safety, which makes it possible for information to be passed electronically from DMVís case management system into the court systemís case management system, which uses a different type of software. The J-One project is part of a collaborative effort by the Department of Safety, the Judicial Branch, the Attorney Generalís Office and other state, county and local agencies to create a criminal justice information system that integrates computer systems and data from state, county and municipal law enforcement entities. Capturing data electronically at its source, as state troopers do now from their cruisers, improves the effectiveness and efficiency of work of all participating agencies and the courts.

"We are working toward the goal of getting rid of paper completely," said Keith Lohmann, J-ONE program manager for the Department of Safety.

Lohmann noted that an eTicket system is not only more efficient and accurate,but also safer for troopers and motorists on the sides of busy highways. An eTicket can be issued by a state trooper in two minutes, compared to eight minutes when a ticket is written out by hand, Lohmann said.

Once testing is complete in Salem, Pelham and Windham, the capability for eTicketing will extend to 140 local law enforcement agencies around the state, which use the same technology as those three towns. The ultimate goal is to have eTicketing capability available to every law enforcement agency in the state.

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