Sponsored by Tyler Technologies
By Laura Neitzel, Police1 BrandFocus Staff
Traffic stops are among the most dangerous tasks an officer can undertake, whether in a bustling city where it can snarl traffic or along a remote stretch of highway where an officer and a suspect might be the only people around for miles.
While crime is certainly an important consideration when evaluating the quality of life for any state’s citizens, so are traffic and infrastructure. According to rankings from U.S. News and World Report, the state of Nevada ranks best in transportation in the nation and fourth overall in terms of infrastructure.
The state has made a concerted effort to use traffic safety data to guide infrastructure development, identify dangerous stretches of roadway, reduce crashes and plan road construction and improvement projects. Like many other states, Nevada requires that law enforcement agencies report crash data to state authorities within a required 10-day window to inform these important functions.
With almost 28 billion road miles traveled per year – in a state so geographically diverse that it boasts both America’s “Loneliest Road” and the lively Las Vegas Strip – reporting each of approximately 40,000 crashes per year within the required 10-day window can be a challenge.
That challenge is made easier thanks to the implementation of a common citation and accident reporting solution at law enforcement agencies of every type, size and jurisdiction across the state.
How it started
The effort began in 2011, when Nevada embarked on a statewide citation and accident tracking system modernization project to help law enforcement officers, first responders, engineers, and others gather data more efficiently from citations and crashes into one centralized database, the central Nevada Citation and Accident Tracking System, for analysis.
As part of that effort, the state departments of public safety and transportation implemented Tyler Technologies’ Brazos eCitation solution in select jurisdictions, so that citations could be handled electronically.
Based on the success of the 2011 rollout, Nevada expanded Brazos to agencies in some of its largest counties in 2016. Then, in 2020, it extended the implementation statewide to include city, county and tribal agencies, as well as the Nevada Highway Patrol. This statewide implementation of Brazos includes not only the eCitation module but also an eCrash module, both of which work on a laptop, tablet, handheld or cellular device so that officers can conduct vital business from the field.
Expedite citations for quicker traffic stops
With Brazos, data collection begins when an officer initiates a traffic stop. Using a built-in or USB scanner, the officer can scan a driver’s license, VIN, and registration papers, and the system auto-populates critical data into the eCitation module, reducing errors that can render a citation inadmissible in court.
The driver’s electronic signature can be captured on the device and mobile citations printed on scene. The citation data is then transmitted directly to courts and the agency records management system, without the need for the officer to physically return to the station.
Because the data is stored on the device itself, even if the traffic stop is in a cellular dead zone, the information is stored until transferred via WiFi, cellular connectivity or batch upload for processing. This data also gives agencies the ability to research past stops, physical descriptions and addresses when needed for other investigations like homicides.
Capturing the driver’s photo along with license data also ensures that the driver’s identity is never in question and fewer citations are dismissed due to mistaken identity. The extra measure of situational awareness this provides can be especially critical for an officer conducting a high-risk traffic stop in an isolated area.
By reducing the amount of time an officer needs to spend roadside and providing background information on a potentially dangerous driver, Brazos eCitation also helps reduce the risk of death or injury for the officer conducting a traffic stop due to inattentive drivers.
Capture crash data
Like eCitation, eCrash is designed for handheld devices, tablets, and laptops, and it allows officers to complete accident reports in the field using drop-down menus and auto-population of data to reduce errors and save time on the roadside. Using eCrash, officers can:
- Store photos of the crash scene.
- Print and share contact and insurance information.
- Create and print tow slips and reports on scene.
- Transfer data where it needs to go.
The crash data is stored in the Brazos system and agency’s RMS, and it is also uploaded to the central Nevada Citation and Accident Tracking System for state reporting. In Nevada, single-vehicle crashes and collisions with animals like deer and elk are frequent occurrences in rural and remote areas that fall between cellular service zones, so it’s an important benefit that Brazos eCrash can store crash data and evidence on the device until the officer reaches an internet connection to upload it.
Benefits of the statewide implementation
Having all agencies use the same forms and avoid paper filings makes it easier for the Nevada Department of Public Safety to gather the critical information it needs to help make its roads safer.
“It’s a huge benefit, not only to our office, the Office of Traffic Safety, but it’s also a benefit to the Nevada Department of Transportation,” said Genevieve Swain, traffic records program manager for the Nevada DPS Office of Traffic Safety. “By having it electronically, not only do we have a consistent ability to get the data, but we can access those crashes or citations without physically having to have paper sent to us, so it has increased our efficiency and timeliness.”
For more information on Brazos eCitation and eCrash software, visit Tyler Technologies.
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