County OKs digital ticket system

Law enforcement and court officials are taking a technological step into ticket-writing and –processing due to action by the Fayette County Board on Tuesday.
The county board approved ordinances for the county’s implementation of a DigiTicket system and the use of funds to pay for the system.
Fayette County Circuit Clerk Kathy Emerick told the county board that the DigiTicket system involves law enforcement officers using handheld devices for the issuance of tickets.
In addition to allowing for the electronic input of ticket information, the devices will be used to scan driver’s licenses. At the end of their shifts, Emerick said, officers will upload the tickets they have issued to her office’s computer system.
The benefits of the DigiTicket system are numerous, according to Emerick and Sheriff Chris Smith.
Emerick said that with the use of the handheld devices, officers can issue the tickets more quickly, cutting down on the time they spend in dangerous situations during roadside stops.
Smith said that the DigiTicket system provides more-accurate information, eliminating problems caused when court officials have problems reading officers’ writing.
And, Emerick said, it helps officers set court dates for offenders, in that it tells officers what dates are not available, due to such things as holiday observances.
The system also allows officers to make voice recordings during traffic stops, print numerous copies of citations and create reports.
Through the system, individuals who are issued tickets may pay fines and related costs online, eliminating their need to show up in court, she said.
Through the agreement with Soltus Technologies, the county is paying $67,171 for the implementation of the system.
Emerick said that she filed an application in which she asked the Conference of Chief Judges to allow the county to enter into a contract for DigiTickets, and Chief Judge Michael McHaney has approved the use of $50,000 in court automation funds for the system.
Emerick asked the county board to provide the balance, and the board unanimously OK’d taking $17,100 from the county’s capital improvement fund.
She said the annual cost for the system is $3,000.
Also at Monday’s meeting:
• Board Chairman Jeff Beckman said that work on the county’s new budget is continuing and that it will be approved a month late.
Beckman said that the board’s finance committee has met with department heads about their individual budgets, and that it’s awaiting information from its auditor on the county’s current finances.
He said that the county is scheduled to receive that information on Friday, and that the finance committee will then meet again to work on finalizing a budget.
• The board approved a contract with South Central FS for gasoline for sheriff’s office vehicles.
Through the contact, the county is paying $2.016 per gallon, more than 50 cents less than what it has been paying South Central FS for gas under a previous contract.
The sheriff’s office uses 17,000-19,000 gallons of gas per year, Smith said.
• The board approved a three-year contract with the county’s non-union employees through which those employees will receive a 2½-percent pay increase in each of the next three years. Those increases mirror those given to other county employees through union contracts.
• The board approved a preliminary engineering agreement with Rhutasel and Associates for a bridge over a tributary to Little Hickory Creek in Lone Grove Township.

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