Police offered high-tech options to help do jobs

By GAYLE COULTER State Journal Staff Writer Published:

Police in Kentucky are being offered high-tech options to help do their jobs.

Police with laptop computers in patrol cars can access new software for "E-citations" designed and maintained by Kentucky State Police at no charge.

According to Captain Alecia Webb-Edgington, commander of the criminal identification and records branch of the Kentucky State Police, the new software features a portable hand-held scanner that enables officers to enter information in seconds by scanning the bar codes found on new digital drivers licenses.

Two Kentucky counties, Wolfe and Daviess, are piloting the program and if all goes as planned, KSP hopes to start regional training in March 2004, Edgington said.

"We're always looking for ways to make it less difficult for the troops in the field," Edgington said. "We always ask 'does this make life easier for them and promote officer safety?'"

Edgington predicts the new software will cut in half the time an officer spends writing a citation.

Plus, if there's an accident involving multiple parties or witnesses - such as in the case of a bus accident - officers simply scan each person's license, eliminating the time it otherwise would take to hand write that information, Edgington said.

The software also prints the current prepay fines for each county.

Lt. Ricki Allen, with the Kentucky State Police's criminal identification and records branch, says he can't imagine a police department with laptops not wanting to use the new software.

"It's free and we provide training," Allen said. "I don't see why they wouldn't."

E-citation software will also help KSP collect and keep data to use for analyzing patterns by recording crash sites through E-crash reports and crimes through E-crime reports.

Other advances in law enforcement technology were displayed Friday before a state Criminal Justice Council meeting for a sneak peek at what will soon be available.

The Automated Fingerprinting Identification System (AFIS), already in use at the Franklin County Regional Jail as well as 104 others statewide, was also displayed.

For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.

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