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Sterling Heights

July 26, 2013

Traffic tickets given technical upgrade

By Eric Czarnik
C & G Staff Writer

An electronic ticketing system may not demand the attention of flashing lights and sirens, but it has made life easier for traffic officers and other city workers in Sterling Heights, police say.

Police Lt. Dale Dwojakowski, who leads the traffic bureau, said ticket printers and iyeTek ticketing software have been installed in about 50 police fleet vehicles since early June. He said it took a couple of weeks to train everyone to use the new system.

“We’re still making tweaks as we go,” he said. “When you go from paper to digital, people sometimes freak out a little bit, so we work out the bells and whistles.”

According to Dwojakowski, during a traffic stop, police may use a card swipe device inside the police vehicle to scan a cited motorist’s operating license. The officer also inputs the driver’s license plate number into a computer, he said.

Then all the necessary data — such as driving history and criminal record — is electronically passed on to the Police Department records bureau and 41-A District Court. Meanwhile, a thermal printer inside the police car’s armrest automatically spits out a ticket for the cited person, Dwojakowski said.

“Literally, the ticket prints out the side of your armrest,” he said.

According to its supporters, the move to digitize the ticketing process streamlines city operations and saves time. Dwojakowski said the reform improves accuracy and efficiency in the Police Department, sparing police and court clerks from having to retype information.

“There’s way less chance for errors because no one is retyping it,” he said.

While the 41-A District Court has an online payment setup, a similar iyeTek setup could be forthcoming too, he added.

Dwojakowski said the funding for the portable printers came from a federal grant, and the funding for the software came from a state grant. He called the e-ticketing system “fairly common,” though he guessed that it might not be in half of local police departments’ vehicles yet. “It’s becoming more and more every year,” he said.

Sterling Heights Police Lt. Kevin Reese said he has heard positive responses from fellow members of the police force. “This is totally going to improve the whole productivity,” he said.

Learn more about the e-ticket program at www.sterling-heights.com or by calling (586) 446-2470.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Eric Czarnik at eczarnik@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1058.