A new system for writing parking tickets in Provo is proving to be successful; successful not only for the officers out looking for illegally parked cars, but also the violators themselves who can pay for the ticket immediately on the Internet.
Many cities use electronic equipment to issue parking citations, but Provo has a system where the officer writes ink onto the ticket with a high-tech pen and that data is automatically uploaded to the city's database of parking violators.
Brad Croff is a parking enforcement officer for Provo police—it's one of the most unpopular jobs in all of Provo.
"We're out to educate the public, not to harass them," he said. "I give them plenty of warnings. I let people go all the time. It just depends on what the violation is."
Now for tickets with a fine, the parking violation is documented digitally, including what is written on the ticket using a digital pen.
Croff explained, "This has a little camera in the very end, it will trace our handwritten remarks, along with anything we write, and then that simply Bluetooths the information to a normal cell phone where we take pictures, and then it will post to the Internet as soon as we are done taking the pictures."
The ticket is immediately downloaded into the computer system at the Provo Justice Court, and the violator can log on and pay the ticket online, which has dramatically improved collection of fines.
Provo City Justice Court Administrator Jody Meyer said, "We used to be at 67 percent, and now we are at 88 percent. In fact, we are collecting and resolving cases at 75 percent within 30 days, which is better than what we were getting altogether before with all of our efforts with the old system."
Appeals are also handled online, where people can ask a hearing officer to look at the circumstances of their case.
Violators also appear to be more discouraged in appealing their tickets because they can see online digital photos detailing their violation.
"The photo evidence really does help people decide if they want to appeal it or just pay it," Meyer said.
Provo's parking enforcement officers actually issue more citations for expired vehicle registrations than they do parking tickets.
City officials say the system has already paid for itself in making the justice court more efficient.