Conway police doing away with handwritten traffic citations

Conway police doing away with handwritten traffic citations

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Conway police officers are using new technology to avoid writing during traffic stops.

Conway Police Officer Michael Clark said he has been assisting training the officer on how to use the new electronic citation system since January of this year.

"It speeds up the process greatly and it keeps us off the side of the road," Clark said. "

In the past, officers were handwriting tickets while conducting a traffic stop, but Clark said they no longer have to worry about legible penmanship with the new system.

The department had been using the program, called Report Beam, to issue warning citations and input accident report. Clark said they eventually expanded the data entry program.

When a driver is pulled over, the officer can take their license and registration, scan the bar codes on both and the information is automatically uploaded into the computer.

Clark said officers do not have to key in the location for the stop, as the system uses GPS to pinpoint where they are and inputs that data as well. Officers also no longer have to worry about repeated information, such as the county and city, as the system automatically populates those lines on the citation.

"All you would have to do is put in the charge, the bond information and other information of that nature," Clark said.

He added that officers can search their database for any outstanding warrants for the city, but they must still contact dispatch to check for warrants in Horry County. The system can also input driver license information from surrounding states like North Carolina, Georgia and portions of Virginia.

If a driver who is pulled over has all the needed information, including license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance, the new system will take five minutes off the entire traffic stop.

Not only does it save time, but Clark said the system improves officer's safety.

"I never know what's going on in that car. I get out, I don't know you." Clark said. "I get out with you for maybe 30 to 40 seconds at your window and I come back to my car, I have no idea of what you're doing or what you are thinking."

He said traffic stops are part of the officer's job, but the quicker they can get them finished, the better.

Three of the four shifts within the department are using the system, and Clark said the remaining officers should be trained on it by the end of July.

Copyright 2016 WMBF News. All rights reserved.