Sacramento, Calif., PD Takes Step into Digital Era of Policing

A portion of officers in the California capital's police force have officially moved to an e-citation system — a growing trend in the law enforcement space.

The Sacramento Police Department is moving ahead with a program to equip its officers with electronic citation devices, E-Cites, meant to drive traffic patrol efficiency in California’s capital city.

After a roughly year-and-a-half-long pilot project, which began in October 2014, the department announced Jan. 26 that it would begin to issue the devices to officers for regular use.

A spokesperson with the Sacramento Police Department said 245 officers are currently being trained to use the E-Cites system, and the remaining officers will be trained and equipped with the mobile systems at a later time.

Despite some officers using the electronic devices and some using the time-tested citation notebooks,  department officials say they don’t anticipate any administrative challenges on the back end.  

The program largely eliminates the administrative portions of the citation process by sending notifications directly from the device to the court’s Traffic Division. A small, portable printer produces a paper citation for the offender at the time of the traffic stop.

“Electronic Citation Devices will give officers the ability to issue citations seamlessly while maintaining the integrity and accuracy of information,” the department said in a press release.

In addition to more immediate processing of citations, the system will allow for the ability to capture Department of Motor Vehicle data, like fingerprints and driver’s license information, and the system confirms the accuracy of the information included in the citation.

In September 2011, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) tested its own version of the electronic citation system.

According to CHP officials interviewed at that time, the electronic systems substantially reduced the time it took officers to write a ticket and eliminated the need to manually input citation information into the

“Right now the process for paper citations is the officer goes out, they bring it back to a local office and the CHP clerical staff will enter that data into a legacy system on a little green-screen system. But it doesn’t capture all the fields from a citation,” then CHP CIO Reginald Chappelle said in 2011.

The six-month program was funded by a $2.4 million grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety and was conducted in Santa Clara, San Bernardino and portions of Orange County. CHP officials could not be reached for comment on the current status of the electronic citation devices.

Eyragon Eidam is the Web editor for Government Technology magazine, after previously serving as assistant news editor and covering such topics as legislation, social media and public safety. He can be reached at