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August 15. 2013 3:16AM

Salem police receive grant for new driver ticket citation system

SALEM — Tickets and traffic citations will soon be a much speedier process for the Salem Police Department because of a recent $11,182 grant from the New Hampshire Highway Safety Committee.

Grant funds will allow the local force to purchase a dozen printers and scanners to be installed into Salem Police cruisers.

Deputy Police Chief Shaun Patten said the E-Citation equipment would be compatible with the laptops already in the cruisers, allowing officers the chance to share data with town and state officials almost instantly while eliminating much of the handwritten paperwork involved in most traffic stops.

Patten said the town of Salem, along with Windham and Pelham, are the pilot towns for a statewide technology program.

"We're the guinea pigs, for lack of a better word," he said. "So we're among the first towns to try out this new technology."

The new equipment will allow police to instantly link with data from motor vehicle departments from all over, as well as previous criminal records.

"What it will do is provide us with timely access to needed data and also make for quicker delivery of summons in the unfortunate event someone is pulled over," Patten said.

Tickets will be printed out inside the cruiser — a factor that Patten estimates will likely amount to a much quicker wait for motorists faced with the unpleasant experience of awaiting a ticket or summons.

"Car stops should soon take closer to five minutes, depending on the level of violation," he said.

The expedited process will ultimately be safer for officers on duty, Patten added, since having officers sit in their cruisers to write lengthy summonses by hand means they're not always paying attention to their surroundings.

"This is important to remember, because a lot of times these traffic stops take place late at night," Patten said.The program should be up and running by fall.

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