Court Technology Bulletin

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pennsylvania Issues One Millionth E-Citation


A press release from the Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts and the Pennsylvania State Police on March 14, 2012:

One Million State Police Traffic Citations Issued Electronically
Supreme Court, PA State Police E-filing Initiative Improves Safety, Court Efficiency


Harrisburg, PA – For the one millionth time, a Pennsylvania State Police trooper issued an “electronic” traffic citation, using computer technology that improves trooper safety and cuts in half the amount of time it used to take a trooper to issue a citation manually.

“This milestone highlights joint Pennsylvania Supreme Court and Pennsylvania State Police initiatives to apply technology to improve court efficiency and also increase trooper safety by providing quicker access to outstanding warrants,” said Chief Justice of Pennsylvania Ronald D. Castille.  “No paper is filed in the courts, eliminating the need for officers to deliver the traffic citations to the district courts and for court staff to enter citation information manually into the state judiciary’s computer system.  This is estimated to save court staff 77,000 hours annually.”

“When driver’s license and registration information is entered into a trooper’s mobile data terminal, state and national databases are automatically checked to determine whether outstanding warrants exist for the driver or whether the vehicle has been reported stolen,” said Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan.  “The driver’s license and registration data is then auto-populated into the traffic citation form, which cuts the time in half for the trooper issuing a citation—thus allowing the trooper to get back on the road more quickly and resume duties.”

The traffic citation data that law enforcement officers enter into on-board computers in police cruisers is electronically sent to the Magisterial District Judge System through the Pennsylvania Justice Network (JNET).  The Pennsylvania State Police began issuing traffic citations electronically in 2010, and more recently, Washington (Franklin County) and East Buffalo (Union County) townships police departments, Shippensburg Borough Police, (Cumberland/Franklin County) and the Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Department began issuing electronic traffic citations.

The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts’ Judicial Automation staff tested the computer system that is used by a large number of local police departments to develop a traffic citation e-filing system for these departments.  Additional local police departments are expected to implement e-filing of traffic citations in the future.  In 2011, more than 1.6 million traffic citations were issued statewide by state and local police.  (See recently released case filing reports at www.pacourts.us/Reports.)

In addition to the electronic filing of traffic citations, Allegheny County has developed a model system to allow criminal complaints to be filed electronically (see page 4 of the linked newsletter), further eliminating the need for court staff to manually enter criminal complaint data into the court system.  Other counties have expressed interest in implementing similar capabilities for criminal complaints.

The millionth traffic citation was issued on Sunday, March 11.  Neither the alleged offender nor the county where the ticket was issued will be revealed.



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