BIBLE HILL - The RCMP is starting a new way of issuing summary offence tickets.
As of Monday, RCMP Traffic Services in North Eastern Nova Scotia, including Bible Hill, the South Shore, Bridgewater and Cape Breton have been using a new electronic, or ESOT, system. Nova Scotia is the first province in Canada to implement the program.
"Today I had the opportunity to try this out and this system will improve the speed and the performance of our officers," said Insp. Ray Oliver, officer in charge of traffic services for the province.
"This will improve the safety of the public and our front-line officers."
Oliver said the system will help officers reduce the time spent writing tickets on roadsides. He said it can take upwards of 20 minutes for one ticket to be written and inputted into the computer. However, with the new system, that number can be down to about six minutes.
"Instead of manually writing everything down, the officer can take a driver's license and swipe it into a reader in the car and all the information is automatically uploaded," said Oliver.
"While this saves time, it also reduces the likelihood of an error when an officer writes a name or an address."
The information, when it's inputted, automatically goes into the RCMP's database, as well as the provincial court system. Inside RCMP vehicles will be a small printer, so officers can print the ticket on the spot.
Sgt. Downey Brockelbank, who is stationed in Ottawa, has been working on the project for the past two years and spent some time with officers this week teaching them the system.
"When that information is inputted into the system, it takes about three minutes to go into the RCMP database," he said. "So if a person went around the corner to a courthouse to pay that ticket, they would have that information. Sometimes it can take months for the courts to receive the information."
For the past eight months, the RCMP in Halifax Regional Municipality have been using the system through a pilot program.
"Since that time, there have been almost 5,000 tickets issued," said Ross Landry, the province's justice minister.
"I've heard good things about the program - it removes the room for error and it reduces the time it takes to issue the ticket, which allows members to move onto their next call and get where they need to be quicker," he said.
Over the past week, between 50 and 60 tickets have been issued through the program while Brockelbank, Sgt. Chris Colbourne of the development team, and provincial co-ordinator Const. Sherri Curley have been working with officers.
Curley said the system also checks the criminal history on the spot of the person in question.
"Soon we're hoping to also have access to the Registry of Motor Vehicles, and maybe insurance in the future," she said.