Streamlined Traffic Ticket Process Helps Fast-Growing County
August 02, 2022 by
Population growth can benefit communities in many ways, from economic development to a gain in tax income. There can be drawbacks to rapid growth, however, which require creative solutions by forward-thinking government officials.
Equipping Employees With New Tools
Glynn County, Georgia has seen rapid growth in the last few years, without a corresponding rise in staff for public safety or the courts. Brenda Boone-Cove, Glynn County clerk of state court, saw how a large increase in a seemingly mundane area — traffic tickets — negatively affected a multitude of employees, along with those who received the tickets. She led the way to adopting a new solution that would work across multiple departments and benefit constituents.
“I think we have to look at [the] options and figure out the best way for everybody,” Boone-Cove said. “I don't see our caseloads going down, and I don't see our staff going up to match.”
Efficient Ticketing Process
The changeover from a paper-based, manual-entry system completely shifts the work dynamics for staff. The new system receives citation information from an officer automatically and assigns a case number for either a criminal case or traffic case. Clerks now only need to double check the automated process, instead of manually entering the information themselves from paper tickets or reports. This cuts down on confusion from bad handwriting or typos that make it through staff review.
Handwritten tickets used to take two to four weeks to make it into the system and be available for payment or appeal. Now, payments can be made within 24 hours since tickets are immediately logged in the system. The time it takes clerks to enter and approve the citations has been cut in half, from more than seven minutes, to less than three.
“When you're talking about thousands of traffic citations coming in monthly, having that extra four and a half minutes really is a game changer,” Boone-Cove said.
Enhanced Court Capabilities
The benefits extend to the courts, which can schedule court dates and have attendees appear virtually. This benefits people who are now able to appear even if they can’t physically come to the courthouse, whether they live in another state or can’t take time off from work.
“We've learned that the citizens don't necessarily want to come to court on a traffic citation,” Boone-Cove said. “They want some options, and if we can provide those options, we can still manage our caseload and still process the numbers we need to process with fewer people physically in a courtroom.”
Leading Change Through Collaboration
Boone-Cove now sees Glynn County looking toward the future an example for other jurisdictions on how embracing creative solutions can improve lives across the community.
Boone-Cove brought together her court clerks, the county police, and the county IT department to collaborate on the new solution. They understood that the best software would benefit each department in its own way, and even attended each other’s training sessions to learn how the system worked at each step of the process.
"I think anything that can make their life better on the street and safer, and also benefit the courts, while benefiting the citizens, making things streamlined, more efficient for all parties is what we should be all aiming to do,” Boone-Cove said.
Now, officers can call the court clerks with specific questions or concerns, knowing exactly how the solution should be working.
“It makes it faster for the citizens. It makes it easy for people that are not from Glynn County that are getting traffic citations. It makes it easier for the law enforcement that's on the side of the road. It's easier for data entry,” Boone-Cove said. “I would just encourage everybody to look at the options.”