By Scott Schmidt
Alberta Newspaper Group
The Redcliff RCMP has been using the relatively new technology of e-ticketing for about a year now, but aside from the obvious differences between printer ink and the carbon-copied imprint of a Bic pen, you probably haven’t really noticed.
“I certainly don’t think the motoring public has anything to be concerned about with it,” Sgt. Sean Maxwell says. “It is fairly new, and it’s a good thing for everybody.
“I think that we get the odd person who is confused about what is written on a ticket, and I think that’s probably the main advantage — with human beings, communication is probably the most important thing, and part of that (for the RCMP) is legibility and understanding what you’ve been charged with.”
It doesn’t happen often, but human error in ticket writing can and has caused issues for both the police and those charged with traffic violations. By equipping RCMP vehicles with the technology, accuracy becomes a non issue for everyone involved. At this point, hand-written tickets are still being used in several scenarios, but the Redcliff detachment is getting the necessary people trained in order to implement the process more completely.
“We’ve got a couple traffic members here that are slowly working through training the rest of the detachment in order to process those tickets,” says Maxwell.
“Basically, the cars are equipped with a reader for drivers licences, and a computer with a printer. You’re still handed a copy of the ticket right then and there ¬— that part hasn’t changed.
“But it certainly makes things accurate in terms of (information) printed on the ticket, so it’s quite handy.”
Another benefit would seem to be e-ticketing saving time at a traffic stop, though Maxwell says most RCMP members who work traffic have developed methods to increase efficiency with hand-written tickets over the years, so increased speed to the process might not be quite as noticeable as could be assumed.
“It’s like any job — you get better at it the more you do,” Maxwell says. “If you’ve got someone who writes a consistent number of tickets, and they’re used to doing it, that doesn’t take very long in the first place.”