Electronic Parking Tickets in Salina, KS

Teresa Wardyn's job for the Salina Police Department formerly involved a fairly efficient, if rudimentary, method of identifying which drivers had exceeded the marked parking time limits in downtown Salina -- a chalk mark on a back tire.

TickeTrak at its Best

2211234_Image.jpgNow, a new automated citation process using handheld electronic ticket writers not only lets the duo work rain or shine, it eliminates the need to re-enter data from paper tickets into the police and municipal court system and helps eliminate data inaccuracies.
It also enables the officers to better track repeat parking violators.
The automated system has been in use for less than a month, and the two technicians are using the system to give warning tickets only, for now.
Police Lt. Russ Lamer, traffic unit commander, said the two won't begin issuing actual citations until the city installs new signs in parking lots.  Parking times in city-owned lots downtown and on the street will increase to three hours, Lamer said.
All eight-hour parking downtown will change to unlimited parking.
The automated system, which was purchased for $23,000 from Cardinal Tracking, includes two handheld ticket writers, each resembling a small adding machine with a computer screen. Information about an individual vehicle is entered by the operator, and the printer prints out a citation from a roll of thermal paper, similar to a credit card receipt.
The citation is tucked into a small yellow envelope like those used now for written citations. The envelope is placed under the vehicle's
windshield wiper. The $2 citation can be paid by placing the payment into the envelope and depositing the envelope in one of the outdoor collection boxes located throughout downtown, or it can be mailed to the court.
By David Clouston / photo by Tom Dorsey
(Salina Journal)
When it rained, though, chalking tires was a waste of time because the rain washed off the marks. Wardyn and her fellow meter maid, Kim Vincent -- who are referred to by the department as community service technicians -- used to work in the police department office on rainy days, helping the records department.
2211235_Image_w160.jpgThe ticket writers also include a digital camera that let an operator photograph the vehicle being cited. Information about local stolen vehicles is added to the machine's database so that when the operator enters a tag number, the machine will note whether it's been reported stolen, Lamer said.
Lamer declined to say exactly how the system detects that a car hasn't been moved within the allotted time period, and Cardinal Tracking's Web site also doesn't describe the operating process in detail. However, each ticket writer at the end of the day is placed in a charging cradle both to recharge and download the data that's been collected that day.
"There is a system in place where the officer goes by, inputs the tag number and when they come by again, the system will tell whether that vehicle was there before," Lamer said. He said the system is not based on global positioning system data.
There may be times that the system is fooled into thinking a vehicle has not moved when the owner has left and returned to park in the same spot, Lamer said.
"That's what the court system is there for. Anyone may appear in court to contest their ticket," he said.
"From the way the system is set up, if our community service technicians are diligent about how they're performing their duties, that will not be a problem," Lamer said.
Tickets, payments and late fees are tracked by the system software.

Parking tickets produced more than $23,200 in revenue for the city in 2009, according to municipal court records.
Jane Eilers, court supervisor, said a clerk will still have to open envelopes and count and record the $2 payments, but the new citation process should shorten the time that clerk spends entering data and completing the process, which takes about an hour a day now.
"I just came back from a court clerks conference and the buzz was about how great e-ticketing is, and about how the accuracy and efficiency has made a tremendous change in how business is handled," she said.
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