SceneDoc this week announced the availability of SceneDoc V4.1, the latest upgrade to its application solution that lets officers process electronic citations (e-citations) from commercially available smartphones and tablets, not just laptops and purpose-built devices dedicated to the task.

While e-citation solutions have been used by public-safety entities for year, many require added expense to purchase dedicated hardware and do not work well in certain operational environments, such as officers working in the Miami area, according to SceneDoc CEO Alex Kottoor. By leveraging officers’ commercial smartphones—devices that are “in their pockets already”—processing e-citations can become much easier, he said.  

“These guys [in Miami] were on bicycles or on foot … with the big, old-school, clunky devices that have the integrated printers in them,” Kottoor said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. "I think that consolidating the hardware requirements to a smaller form factor and then leveraging things like e-mail or SMS to communicate the citation, make tremendous sense.”

Many public-safety officials have expressed support for the use of e-citation technologies that can help reduce the number of citations that are dismissed in court because of illegible handwriting by an officer or other input errors. The SceneDoc solution supports the scanning of driver’s licenses, configurable policies to identify certain input errors, and a variety of delivery methods, from Bluetooth printing to electronic methods, Kottoor said.

“We’re working with one agency just outside of Toronto that wants to use SMS as the method to delivering the citation, instead of printing it—they’ve actually just passed legislation here in the area to allow for that,” he said.

“As some of this stuff matures and evolves, I think it’s going to put us in a really advantageous position to truly leverage that smart device and forego a lot of the existing, traditional hardware that e-citation solutions have carried through with them.”

Kottoor said that six public-safety agencies plan to use the SceneDoc V4.1 as of this week’s launch, with four of them making the transition from hand-written citations. The e-citation functionality also has tested pilots earlier this year.

“We have been piloting SceneDoc in a patrol squad for the last 3 months and the results have been strong,” CJ Kyle, an inspector with the Metro Vancouver Transit Police, said in a prepared statement. “In the next phase of our pilot, we hope to expand its use internally and externally with our partners in the Lower Mainland. SceneDoc eCitations will be a valuable addition, giving our officers, who are primarily on foot, an efficient and secure way to issue citations using their smartphones.”

As with other SceneDoc digital-evidence applications, the e-citation capability allows for real-time sharing of data, integrates with the “Timeline” functionality that notes key actions throughout the day for each officer and supports the inclusion of multimedia data, Kottoor said.

“As officers are processing citations, supervisors can gain access to them in real time,” Kottoor said. “Also, the data that they are inputting into these citations becomes intelligence to the agency in real time.

“And it’s not just the mobile part; it’s all the other things that SceneDoc is bringing to the table, based on our DNA … Now, when I’m drafting a citation, I could technically snap some pictures and append it to that file. That’s not something you’re able to do today in a manual world or through the laptop.”