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Strategies to Improve State Traffic Citation and Adjudication Outcomes (2023)

Chapter: Chapter 3 - Improving Data Tracking, Sharing, Communication, and Accessibility

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Improving Data Tracking, Sharing, Communication, and Accessibility." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Strategies to Improve State Traffic Citation and Adjudication Outcomes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26875.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Improving Data Tracking, Sharing, Communication, and Accessibility." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Strategies to Improve State Traffic Citation and Adjudication Outcomes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26875.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Improving Data Tracking, Sharing, Communication, and Accessibility." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Strategies to Improve State Traffic Citation and Adjudication Outcomes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26875.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Improving Data Tracking, Sharing, Communication, and Accessibility." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Strategies to Improve State Traffic Citation and Adjudication Outcomes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26875.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Improving Data Tracking, Sharing, Communication, and Accessibility." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Strategies to Improve State Traffic Citation and Adjudication Outcomes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26875.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Improving Data Tracking, Sharing, Communication, and Accessibility." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Strategies to Improve State Traffic Citation and Adjudication Outcomes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26875.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Improving Data Tracking, Sharing, Communication, and Accessibility." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Strategies to Improve State Traffic Citation and Adjudication Outcomes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26875.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Improving Data Tracking, Sharing, Communication, and Accessibility." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Strategies to Improve State Traffic Citation and Adjudication Outcomes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26875.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Improving Data Tracking, Sharing, Communication, and Accessibility." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Strategies to Improve State Traffic Citation and Adjudication Outcomes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26875.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Improving Data Tracking, Sharing, Communication, and Accessibility." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Strategies to Improve State Traffic Citation and Adjudication Outcomes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26875.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Improving Data Tracking, Sharing, Communication, and Accessibility." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Strategies to Improve State Traffic Citation and Adjudication Outcomes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26875.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Improving Data Tracking, Sharing, Communication, and Accessibility." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Strategies to Improve State Traffic Citation and Adjudication Outcomes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26875.
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9   This chapter summarizes the range of challenges and barriers that were reported during state interviews, both general and specific to transitions to digital record management. The results and lessons reported were then used in the final stages of the project to develop final project deliverables, including the interactive toolkit, summary presentation, and information sheets, which are discussed further in the following chapter and included as appendices. The findings of this task are summarized graphically in Figure 3 and Figure 4, and are discussed in more detail following. Structural Challenges Structural factors include those that are a function of a state’s legal system and/or legal struc- ture. While these may be difficult or impossible to change in the short term, they are important considerations for development of solutions, including digitization, as some solutions may help to ameliorate any issues arising from these factors. Specific structural factors are discussed in greater detail in this section. Citation Definition Consistency The specific definitions and codes of citations and infractions may vary across jurisdictions within a state; this variance may be more prevalent in states lacking legal unification. When dif- ferent localities have varying codes and definitions, citations, adjudications, and dispositions can be challenging to track and align across jurisdictions. For example, a DUI or other serious charge in one county may not be reported as such in a neighboring county, even if a prosecutor in that county has access to the first county’s records. Legal Issues/Mandates Several states reported that legal considerations factored into their ability to effectively share data, track citations, and use/transition to digital systems. At a high level, this can happen when state court systems are not structurally unified, meaning that courts in individual jurisdictions may be structured, managed, and funded differently. In this case, it can be a challenge to get individual courts to agree on protocols for data sharing or coding as well as on technology implementations. Some states also reported concern that specific agencies within the state lack influence or power over other agencies, so that distributed responsibility can prevent shared solutions to data sharing and technology. Relatedly, complex regulations and legal work are required for streamlined func- tioning in all agencies, and in many cases these workings may not mesh together across agencies. C H A P T E R   3 Improving Data Tracking, Sharing, Communication, and Accessibility

10 Strategies to Improve State Trafc Citation and Adjudication Outcomes Current data sharing practices may also need improvement unrelated to modality of data entry, storage, or transfer. For example, data may be siloed in specic agencies and dicult to access for members of other agencies. Deferrals and Dismissals Citation deferrals and dismissals include cases in which a citation is disposed of without going through the conviction process, particularly when cases are pled down to charges that are materi- ally dissimilar (e.g., a DUI pled to a lesser charge). In cases like these, there are several factors that may hamper a state’s ability to track citations, and several states noted that it would be valu- able to be able to track these. Challenges include variance in diversion programs by jurisdiction, as dierent courts may have varying ways of dispensing with charges and varying programs for pleas or deferrals, and the fact that deferrals may only remain in the system a short period of time, or may not be visible. is is well supported in law, and in some cases by a state’s consti- tution, but poses a serious a challenge from research and reporting perspectives. Figure 4. High-level diagram of strategies and lessons learned. Figure 3. High-level diagram of challenges faced in citation data tracking.

Improving Data Tracking, Sharing, Communication, and Accessibility 11   Future Data Collection Requirements Several states noted that reporting and data collection requirements are constantly chang- ing, and that this can reflect shifts in cultural attitudes and values; for example, recent tensions regarding race and policing are resulting in the collection of additional racial data during traffic stops. These shifts in mandated data elements may provide challenges from data development, storage, and alignment perspectives. Data Content Challenges A second domain of challenge relates to how citation and other data are created, stored, shared, and tracked. These factors are not necessarily specific to paper-based or digital modalities, although some may be ameliorated by a shift to digitization; this will be discussed further in the following section. Jurisdictional Variance There is considerable overlap between this set of factors and the structural factors, particularly when it comes to a lack of legal and structural unification, when different jurisdictions within a state may have varying definitions and processes that can hamper data integration and sharing. Some states have hundreds or even thousands of courts, and jurisdictions may prioritize their own needs and methods over statewide initiatives. Particularly in states with non-unified court systems, individual systems may have considerable variance in how data are coded, handled, and transmitted that may not translate well to more rigid or centralized digital systems. Judges may also exercise differences in judicial discretion on sentencing, and individual courts may have substantial differences in processing and communication times. Data Quality and Integration Within jurisdictions, at all levels from roadside stops to court processing to data maintenance, it is critical for data quality to be maintained and integration to be facilitated within and across systems, enabling successful tracking of in-process and adjudicated citations. There are num- erous ways in which quality and integration can pose a challenge. In some states, there are mul- tiple incompatible data types, standards, and/or methods of data integration such that different systems may not be equipped to transfer and align data. Data quality itself may suffer; some states reported that particular agencies are known to have varying quality of data reporting. In some cases, penalties may be administered by a different agency (e.g., interlocks), and those penalties may not be properly implemented if the system has unforeseen cracks—for instance, if an individual does not have a car registered in their name and can then drive other vehicles with no interlock. All of these factors make error handling more challenging, as errors may be harder to track if there are multiple failure points. Data Errors Data errors have a number of causal and contributing factors, and such errors can have sig- nificant consequences, including delays, wasted time and duplicated work, reduced ability to track cases and match individuals, and potentially serious judicial consequences if errors are not identified early. Error factors for paper documents include illegibility due to handwriting or contamination (adverse weather, spilled drinks, etc.), transcription errors due to either illeg- ibility or clerical error (which may occur during conversion to electronic format), neglected

12 Strategies to Improve State Traffic Citation and Adjudication Outcomes data elements that are not completed, and process errors such as when duplicate violations are created in the process of correcting prior errors. Digitization reduces some of these possibilities for error, presenting a compelling argument for digitization, but there remain several avenues for error, including clerical errors and corrupted or lost data. Data Storage and Transfer The modality or modalities by which data are created, stored, and transferred provide context for challenges to effective citation tracking faced by most states. There are two primary methods by which this is accomplished: manual/paper-based and digital. Many states have a blended system in which some or all localities record initial citations on paper during roadside stops, and these are transferred to a digital file at some point in the process, generally either within the police department—either by the citing officer or by a clerk—or after citations are transferred to the court clerk’s office. Digitization Process Nearly all states are in the process of digitizing some or all of the citation life cycle, although this is being implemented at different rates and in different ways. In most states, digitization has occurred by the point of transmission of citation from local law enforcement agencies to courts for disposition, and many states are reporting ongoing efforts to standardize all citation steps into a common digital format. Most state representatives pointed to a number of benefits of digitization, but also noted some disadvantages and barriers to the digital transition. These are discussed further below. Barriers to Digitization While most states are moving toward some type of digital/e-citation system, often incorpo- rating digital collection during roadside traffic stops, some number of agencies—often local law enforcement or court agencies—in most states continue to use paper-based systems. This can be for one or more of several reasons listed below. Lack of Interest There may be an individual or institutional lack of interest at several levels, from law enforce- ment agencies who are comfortable with current procedures to systems overwhelmed with exist- ing citation loads to higher-level prioritization of major crimes over traffic citations. Similarly, there can be institutional resistance to change, particularly if agencies such as individual courts have already invested in their own solutions. Resistance to Technology Change Relatedly, individuals may be resistant to changes that involve new technology. More technology-inclined individuals, particularly younger people, may be more comfortable with new interfaces and digital interactions than those who have spent years with previous systems. Some departments also reported wanting more flexibility in how they handled tickets than is pro- vided in digital systems; in some cases, they wanted more discretion in how to handle individual cases than may be afforded once a citation is recorded and transferred digitally. Further, indi- vidual implementations may be more acceptable to some users than to others; as one person put it, “You can’t make everybody happy all the time.”

Improving Data Tracking, Sharing, Communication, and Accessibility 13   Lack of Sufficient Funding The conversion to digital citations and records can entail considerable expense. For law enforce- ment, for example, equipment must be purchased for each patrol vehicle, including computers, roadside printers, barcode scanners, and there are also recurring costs for software licenses, internet connectivity, etc. Some agencies reported that the cost/benefit trade off was not worth the expense, particularly in areas with low crime or citation rates combined with resource limita- tions. Some states discussed the availability of grants, but some reported that these favored some agencies (e.g., judicial over others, such as law enforcement). Lack of Infrastructure Since many of the benefits of digitization, such as data synchronization and backups, depend on access to the internet, connectivity poses a challenge in states with large rural areas without cellular data coverage. Workarounds would need to be developed; these might include secure mobile backups and data synchronization when officers return to the coverage or the station. Lack of Supporting Mandates and Statutes Fundamental aspects of digitization, including data sharing, may not be prioritized if not required under a mandate, especially when funding is limited. Further, existing statutes may require paper-based elements like ink signatures that are either incompatible with digitization or mandate extra steps like printing and scanning. Resistance to Large-Scale Change Incrementalism is easier to accept from both individual and programming perspectives; this can lead to smoother transitions, but can also delay meaningful overhauls and risks diverging standards and obsolete technology. Technological Concerns While digitization has many benefits over paper-based systems, there are a number of concerns specific to digital systems that should be considered. These include malware, ransomware, and similar intrusions, software bugs, the need for software support and hardware upgrades, and consideration for software updates and compatibility, including system updates and inconsistent data linkages. Integration Into Existing Electronic Data Systems Integration may be particularly challenging when dealing with one or more legacy systems, especially systems that may be outdated, may have varying degrees of connectivity, or may be missing documentation or the expertise of people who developed them. Accounting for Different Existing Reporting Styles Across Jurisdictions Similar to previous themes of managing institutional inertia, in some states (particularly non-unified states) there are existing data reporting styles and standards that would have to be aligned to enable consistent digitization. Digital Transition-Related Challenges When a state has initiated a transition to unified digital citation records, whether piecemeal, gradually, or via a complete system overhaul, numerous challenges are likely to arise. The degree to which these can be anticipated and accounted for will affect the success of the overall transition.

14 Strategies to Improve State Traffic Citation and Adjudication Outcomes A number of transition-related challenges that emerged from discussions with state representa- tives are discussed below. Managing Data from Multiple Vendors States vary in the use of single or multiple vendors for e-citation and database systems. In states where e-citations have been implemented via a bottom-up process (i.e., each jurisdiction or department is responsible for its own digitization) instead of via a statewide initiative or mandate, different jurisdictions within the state may use different vendors for various aspects of citation initiation, transfer, and database storage. Some states reported having dozens of law enforcement agencies and court systems that each had its own record management system and vendor. This becomes a challenge when databases are not designed to be interoperable, particu- larly when trying to coordinate and align citations later in the adjudication lifecycle. In some cases, states reported dozens of different vendors, and noted that some vendors treated data definitions as proprietary and resisted sharing these definitions in a way that would facilitate alignment. Standardized systems and initiatives like the Traffic and Criminal Software (TraCS) or Crimi- nal Justice Information Services (CJIS), as well as the MIDRIS system in the domain of driver impairment, have been reported to be helpful. However, if new systems are built on top of or to integrate with existing systems, then back-end data services must be designed to work with various vendors, or vice versa, to ensure interoperability. Data standardization challenges can be exacerbated in cases where different law enforcement jurisdictions or court systems have data structured differently (e.g., first-name-last versus first-name-first), requiring additional data alignment procedures. In addition, varying auxiliary systems such as billing can add further complexity to post-hoc integration. Data Compatibility Currently, some states have a combination of one or more digital systems alongside paper- based systems, which creates bottlenecks in data flow and the potential for error when translat- ing among systems or between paper and digital methods. Many states have a combination of primarily digital and primarily paper agencies, which can result in required record translation from digital to paper back to digital among agencies. In addition to inter-system compatibility, it is also critical to determine the degree to which updated data systems can interact with legacy systems that may remain in agencies. System transitions may also result in delays between new and existing systems; one state reported delays of over a year between citation and posting to the driver record file since their judicial system is undergoing an overhaul. Administrative There are number of additional challenges that occur on the personnel and logistical end when managing system transitions. Prominent among these is the need for extensive training on how to use new systems, which may involve thousands of people across many departments and levels, from law enforcement officers to judges to clerks and staff at various agencies across the state. This training may be more challenging for some recipients than for others, particularly in cases where people are not familiar with the underlying technology, and proper training can add substantial time and cost burden. System shifts and associated training (discussed further below) may also reveal issues related to departmental and personnel culture and practices. For example, people across departments may not have the same understanding of data types and definitions, and these misunderstandings

Improving Data Tracking, Sharing, Communication, and Accessibility 15   can lead to further complications. Different departmental priorities and competition can result in bottlenecks and missing data, disagreements over funding allocation, and data ownership and transmission. At an administrative and political level, transitions are often subject to the priori- ties of the administration that is currently in power. States reported that new administrators frequently change priorities, and staff changes can affect in-progress transitions. Finally, funding to support both equipment and training was raised as a common concern. Many state representatives discussed the importance of federal- or state-level grants in easing the transition to digital; however, some funding is earmarked for specific purposes and can exclude costs like equipment, which, as discussed above, represents a substantial investment. Strategies and Solutions This section presents specific strategies that were identified during conversations with state representatives as providing direct ways of addressing or ameliorating the challenges described above. While the initial intent was to specifically align solutions with challenges, many strategies identified ended up cutting across problem domains. Therefore, while these strategies and solu- tions are organized slightly differently from the challenges described, in aggregate, these provide methods to address all of the domains of concern. Citation Generation, Processing, and Storage Many of the challenges raised during interviews may be addressed in whole or in part by shifting to a digital, or e-citation, system. While that transition itself raises challenges that were discussed in the preceding section, and strategies for addressing those challenges will be pre- sented below, a shift to standardized digital records may address many of the structural, content, and storage/transfer barriers to effective citation tracking. The following section will present in more detail the ways that digitization may help address these barriers. Benefits of Digitization Strategies to deal with citation processing issues tend to largely revolve around simplifying the process and streamlining it to improve efficiency. The most commonly cited strategy for simpli- fying and streamlining citation processing was the switch to an electronic system, although this presents numerous challenges (as discussed above) and requires significant planning and coor- dination during the initial implementation and transition periods. In general, most state experts agreed that record digitization, or a switch to e-citations, provides substantial advantages across the citation-adjudication lifecycle. Specific cited benefits include the following. Citation tracking. Digital records enable easier tracking of individuals’ citation records within and across jurisdictions, assuming common data elements (including driver and/or cita- tion ID codes) and compatible systems, as digital databases allow for faster submission, align- ment, and synchronization. Speed of transmission. Digital information transfer may occur nearly instantaneously, while paper citations can suffer delays of days, weeks, or longer. In this way, e-citations can reduce backlog issues associated with manually entering paper citations into the system. Essentially, as soon as the e-citation is issued, all the related data are available. In this regard, e-citation systems effectively address timeliness, which was identified by NHTSA and the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) as one of six vital measures for the evaluation of traffic records data- bases (NHTSA 2011).

16 Strategies to Improve State Traffic Citation and Adjudication Outcomes Synchronization. Digitization enables stakeholders across agencies and jurisdictions to have rapid access to accurate and up-to-date citation data. However, this is contingent upon all parties using compatible data types and consistent definitions. Error reduction. Digital data entry reduces chances for error, particularly error related to data entry or transcription, which reduces the need for corrections or amendments. Amend- ments are required when the citation is sent to the court and is found to be incomplete in some way, such as when an officer or recorder neglects to fill out a required section of a citation form. In such cases, the court often then sends the citation back to the department where the individual who committed the error has to manually correct it and then send it back to the court. This can create a significant delay in the progress of these cases through the courts. E-citation systems can be set up using a force fill function for specific pieces of information that are required fields; thus, individuals are not able to move through the process without completing the required field, dras- tically reducing the chance of errors and the need for time-consuming amendments. In-vehicle driver’s license readers can scan a license and autofill the required fields on the e-citation, which removes the need for the officer to have to key in critical information. Citation location information. Some states (e.g., Minnesota) reported that their citation management software includes tools to precisely identify the location of the citation using map- ping tools. This represents both an ease of process and a precision improvement over paper- based location recording that is more prone to initial and translation errors. Data integrity. Particularly when configured with proper backups, digital systems reduce the potential for data loss, as physical media may be damaged, misplaced, or misprocessed. Improved cross-state data sharing. In cases where states share data structures and systems, digitization can also improve the speed and accuracy of data sharing across state lines. This can be particularly important in jurisdictions that experience substantial cross-state traffic. Reduced roadside presence. Electronic processes may also substantially reduce the amount of time law enforcement officers are exposed to the dangers of standing alongside a vehicle on the side of the road. One state representative from law enforcement stated that: “It takes less than seven minutes to enter the citation. So that really diminishes the time that you’re on the road. It diminishes your exposure to incoming traffic as an officer.” Reduced reliance on in-office personnel. The COVID-19 pandemic revealed a significant benefit to having an e-citation and online disposition system in place, as the system continued to operate effectively despite the fact that many locations shifted to telework. Supporting future systems. A digital citation system also lays the groundwork for a central data repository. A central repository provides one interface for all users of a state’s data systems; thus, training, troubleshooting, and tracking data quality issues becomes less burdensome with only one central database to manage. Sharing data across agencies and organizations would also be simplified with the implementation of a central repository. One interviewed representative shared the following example that illustrates the benefits associated with an e-citation system and central repository: “We’re partnering with our Clerks Association to build a central repository . . . so then everybody would have an interface. Some of our counties [have] somewhere around 55 law enforcement agencies, so that’s 55 separate interfaces that the court has to maintain. But if we do this central location, it would just be one interface that they actually already have set up.”

Improving Data Tracking, Sharing, Communication, and Accessibility 17   Strategies for Facilitating Digitization Transitions The shift to digitization, while generally endorsed by all interviewees as a successful counter- measure to many challenges facing paper-based systems, comes with its own series of challenges. The following suggested strategies individually and in combination have been found to facilitate this transition by addressing these challenges. Identifying Advocates, Stakeholders, and Champions One of the most critical strategies endorsed by many state experts is achieving stakeholder buy-in at each level of the transition process. Resistance to change was reported as being very common during digital transitions, and at “boots on the ground” levels be more likely to come from older individuals who have spent their career doing things manually and may be hesitant to “mess with what works.” In these situations, it could be beneficial to focus on getting younger individuals, who tend to be more familiar with and accepting of new technology, onboard as well as identifying advocates among more experienced ranks who will be listened to and respected. At administrative levels, identifying and recruiting stakeholders and champions is beneficial for prioritizing the training, funding, and support necessary for a large-scale transition. Effective recruitment of stakeholders and advocates will depend on the culture and structure of individual departments, but buy-in may be best achieved by focusing on the benefits of transitioning to digital citations to each department by using the above list as a starting point. Prioritize Usability One of the most effective ways that systems can be developed for efficiency, effectiveness, and acceptance is to prioritize usability. Design direction may be limited when systems must be bought “off the shelf,” but in cases where state agencies have input into design, there is signifi- cant value to taking the end-users into consideration. This should focus on cognitive consider- ations, including ease of use for people both familiar and unfamiliar with current touch-based digital interactions, as well as physical usability. This latter point is particularly important for officers in the field, where screen legibility is critical in inclement and dark weather and buttons and touch elements must be large enough to enable accuracy in stressful situations. User testing during the design phase would be valuable to both ensure usability under real-world condition with real users and to encourage stakeholder buy-in by emphasizing their importance to and input into the digitization process. Finally, although as indicated below, training will likely be necessary to ensure effective and efficient system use, proper user-centered design will minimize the time and resources required by reducing the overall workload and burden on users. Piloting During development, it is important to test, or pilot, implementations with a variety of user groups and agencies/jurisdictions to ensure that all processes, data input, and data exchanges are functional and usable prior to wide-scale deployment. The piloting process will likely interact and iterate with usability and training development to ensure the best possible design, deploy- ment, and buy-in, as well as function to identify both technical and process friction and failure points early enough in the process. Training Training is vital to the success of a digitized system, particularly in cases where the system is novel and/or operators are unfamiliar with digital records systems in general or with a specific implementation. Proper training will support not only effective and efficient system use, but can

18 Strategies to Improve State Traffic Citation and Adjudication Outcomes also increase buy-in by illustrating the advantages that integrated digital systems can have over paper-based systems. Training will vary by user role, and should be developed in conjunction with software representatives and training experts. Liaisons to and stakeholders within each department may be a helpful resource for developing and administering specific training, for example, to police officers and court clerks. Several interviewees discussed the value of using teleconference soft- ware as a training tool, enabling experts to train remote users from a central location. Focus on the Local Level One consistent suggestion that dovetails with the above suggestions of identifying advocates and prioritizing usability is that the selection and implementation process should focus as much as possible on local-level agencies; in other words, make the transition process involve bottom- up feedback whenever possible. Local agencies report feeling the brunt of transitions, and are often where both personnel-related concerns (i.e., individual opposition) and financial concerns (i.e., lack of funding to support equipment and training) occur. By reaching out to local agen- cies, directly communicating the benefits of digitization, listening to their needs and concerns, and prioritizing their feedback, as opposed to relying on top-down mandates, individuals and smaller agencies are more likely to be engaged with the process and support the digital transition. Compatibility One of the core challenges is ensuring that new data systems are able to interface with existing systems in terms of data format, type, and database compatibility. While a complete exploration of all the facets of database and back-end design is beyond the scope of this project, it is strongly recommended that states work with qualified database experts to determine the most compat- ible way to develop and implement updated data systems. Multiple states reported challenges in aligning data from different systems and vendors; and having a consistent back-end design that updated systems can interface with was reported to substantially facilitate the process. Funding Support Funding was often brought up as a barrier to success in digital implementation In regard to covering costs associated with developing and implementing an e-citation system, such as pur- chasing or upgrading software and purchasing hardware (e.g., driver’s license readers for police officers, laptops/tablets, scanners, in-vehicle printers, etc.), many states mentioned federal and state grant initiatives that are available for agencies to apply for. Some states have also found creative ways to supplement purchases with equipment shifts and donations. For example, one stakeholder reported: “We have partnered with the Highway Patrol to get their excess equipment. And we’ve donated lap- tops, scanners, all kinds of equipment to agencies around the state that wanted to report electronically.” Stakeholders may be resourceful and creative when planning how to transition to e-citations, including reaching out to as many agencies and organizations as possible. The interactive toolkit associated with this report, Toolkit for Improving Citation and Adjudication Tracking, provides resources to identify funding support. Improve Existing Processes If the state is not able to (further) transition to an e-citation system, a good starting point to simplify and streamline citation processing is to improve processes that are already in place. The goal should be to minimize duplication as much as possible, which, in turn, reduces the chance of errors. Manual re-entry of citation information (e.g., by law enforcement and then again by court clerks) increases the chances of a typing error or other transcription error, which sub- sequently makes it more difficult to link law enforcement records with court records. Similarly, eliminating the use of multiple different databases and pushing for a central repository reduces

Improving Data Tracking, Sharing, Communication, and Accessibility 19   the chance of errors as citation data only need to be entered one time, after which they are avail- able to other stakeholders/agencies who need it. A representative from one state highlighted the benefits of eliminating duplicate data entry and streamlining information by illustrating reduc- tion in variance in how names are entered: “There isn’t paper going back and forth so the streamlining . . . is a huge time saver in terms of staff having to enter records . . . and having that one process on how they enter a last name. If you have first name, middle name, last name and then you have a suffix, is somebody entering it comma junior, comma junior with a period, space junior? I’m a hyphenated last name. Some people have the hyphen, some people have the space, some people don’t put the hyphen in . . . those types of things really have been streamlined and been minimized a lot. . . .” If paper citations are still in use, some e-citation systems have the capability to scan paper citations to digitize the data and upload them to the database. Bar codes linked to the citation number are also a useful strategy for reducing errors associated with manually entering a citation number. Data Integrity and Backups Regardless of whether systems are fully digital, it is still likely that some citation data will include integrity issues such as errors or corruption. To best deal with and prevent these issues, it is important to have methods in place to both validate data at multiple steps in the process and analyze the data path to identify where errors occur and enable correction. It may also be beneficial to have staff dedicated to ensuring data efficiency and accuracy. Relatedly, another source of concern was that digital systems can fail, particularly in the field. Given that a system crash or printer failure could render a digital system inoperable, it was recommended that field workers such as law enforcement officers have redundant solutions, including paper backups, for citations. Legal Considerations In a number of cases, interviewees suggested that supporting regulations, legislation, and/or mandates would be helpful to ensure consistency of data types, reporting, and sharing as well as when there is a shift toward digitization. Communication A number of interviewees discussed the importance of open lines of communication within state agencies, between states in similar regions or with similar legal structures, and between state and federal governments. This was particularly true for the digitization process, especially when it comes to identifying sources of funding and best practices, but was found to be gener- ally useful for all aspects of citation data tracking. Several states reported how valuable having regular communication with departments such as public safety, public health, and corrections, as well as entities like the state’s TRCC and universities, are in identifying areas of enforcement that are working well or may need improvement. Memoranda of Understanding, or MOUs (alternately known as Memoranda of Agreement, or MoA), were often reported to be of great value for facilitating data transfer among agencies within states. Several states also emphasized the importance of working with their TRCC rep- resentatives and keeping open lines of communication between state agencies and the TRCC. Aligned approaches were also found to be very helpful to support cross-state citation tracking, particularly in metropolitan areas (e.g., Kansas City) that are near or on state lines. Open and Effective Data Analysis and Storage Tools A number of representatives discussed the power of using data tools to evaluate trends in citations and program effectiveness at state and local levels. This was a major motivation behind

20 Strategies to Improve State Traffic Citation and Adjudication Outcomes comprehensive digital systems, but analysis tools and appropriate storage or warehousing can also be used to illustrate the value in digitization as a motivation for change. However, there are additional considerations for the development of such tools, including training and resource management. Some state representatives reported being overloaded with data requests and suggested developing outward-facing portals to enable other agencies and the public to directly interact with (de-identified) data as well as appoint one or more liaisons to facilitate data exchange. In addition, this provides the opportunity for and necessity of clearly defining data types so that all parties understand precisely what the data are reporting, as well as the develop- ment of supporting data dictionaries and search tools. Lessons Learned To summarize the above strategies and solutions into a format that may be more easily absorbed, the team developed a series of lessons learned that form the foundation for the deliv- erable toolkit that developed as the second major piece of the project final deliverables. These are summarized in Exhibit 1 and expanded upon in the associated toolkit. Conclusion This chapter presented the results of primary data collection for the project, including sum- marizing the findings from a nationwide survey of publicly available information and a series of interviews with representatives of 16 states with a variety of levels of structural and legal unifica- tion. The output from this task was used to develop final project deliverables that are detailed further in Chapter 4. Digitization & Unitary Database Benefits Facilitate citation tracking & data sharing Promote error reduction & data synchronization Improve user experience at all levels Need for Communication Communicate with users at all levels Find a primary advocate as well as champions at all agencies Emphasize benefits to specific use cases Technical Considerations Standardize data types across agencies and jurisdictions Develop robust error prevention & detection strategies Implement & promote use of data evaluation tools Transition-Related Planning Pilot test sufficiently for user experience, data flow and errors Design for usability by all end users Develop & test training for each user group Exhibit 1. Strategies and solutions.

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The ability of state agencies to track citation, adjudication, and disposition data accurately and effectively is essential for the identification and appropriate adjudication of problem drivers and habitual offenders. Efficient data tracking can provide benefits at all steps of the citation-adjudication process, from providing real-time information and safer roadside stops for law enforcement officers to reducing errors and improving transmission speed during the adjudication stage to facilitating data storage and effective analyses following disposition.

The TRB Behavorial Transportation Safety Cooperative Research Program's BTSCRP Research Report 5: Strategies to Improve State Traffic Citation and Adjudication Outcomes identifies challenges and barriers to effective citation data tracking along with proven strategies and solutions to address these challenges, with the goal of developing a series of practical and meaningful steps that state highway safety officials could use to implement these strategies.

Supplemental to the report is Toolkit for Improving Citation and Adjudication Tracking, which is a PowerPoint presentation with voiceover components. Slides from the toolkit are presented in Appendix D and the script for the voiceover is included in Appendix E.

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