Neglecting To Do So Will Cost Money and Compromise Public Safety
MADISON—For a majority of law enforcement agencies in Wisconsin, officers’ traffic citations are transmitted electronically from in-squad computers to the Department of Transportation, as well as the appropriate court and district attorney offices. The budget bill recently introduced by Governor Walker strips the program of its funding, a result that will require citations to be written by officers and manually entered into each of the computer databases of county district attorneys, law enforcement agencies, and the courts. As a legislative committee holds hearings on the budget, the head of Wisconsin’s largest law enforcement group today called on lawmakers to restore funding to this critical program.
“The ability to electronically create traffic citations and update various databases with the click of a button saves considerable time and money, especially when you consider that nearly 1,900 traffic citations are electronically written and transmitted every day,” said WPPA Executive Director Jim Palmer. “If the funding for this is not restored, there is no question that the loss of this invaluable tool will cost taxpayers more money and officers more time doing paperwork.”
According to the Department of Transportation, approximately 950,000 citations were written annually when this program began in 2006. Last year, that number soared to over 1.4 million citations, and Palmer contends that this reflects the fact that traffic enforcement has been easier and less time consuming for officers, and less costly for taxpayers.
“If this tool remains unfunded, it is reasonable to assume that fewer citations will be written. In addition to the traffic safety implications, the financial support that the citation revenues provide to our courts, the state crime lab, our jails, and to law enforcement training will be lost. Public safety will undoubtedly suffer.”