Although pulling people over for speeding and other traffic violations is a routine part of the job, former police officer Sen. Al McAffrey is all too familiar with how quickly a traffic stop can turn dangerous. For this reason, he has authored Senate Bill 1872, which would allow law enforcement officers to issue electronic citations for traffic, misdemeanor and municipal ordinance violations as well as other law enforcement data.
“Allowing officers to issue electronic citations will help better protect them. If they don’t have to approach vehicles during traffic stops to give people tickets but can simply email traffic violation citations directly to the district court clerk then they’re less likely to get into a dangerous altercation,” said McAffrey, D-Oklahoma City.
The measure would add a $5 fee to the amount paid by defendants convicted of speeding (up to ten mph over the speed limit), certain misdemeanor traffic violations, or a driving under the influence misdemeanor or felony. A “Court Clerk’s Records Electronic Citation Fund” would be created in each county.
Sixty percent of the fee, or $3, would be credited to the fund and forty percent would be disbursed to the agency of the arresting law enforcement officer to help with the expenses related to the establishment and maintenance of electronic citations. The District Court Clerk in each county would collect the fees and distribute them in the fund.
“Routine traffic stops are one of the most dangerous times for officers to become injured because they don’t know what kind of situation or individual they’re approaching. They’re walking up blind,” said McAffrey. “We need to provide better protection for them by not putting them in harm’s way unnecessarily. By allowing them to submit electronic citations, they’d no longer have to leave the safety of their car.”