RD498 - Virginia Department of State Police E-Summons Pilot Project Activities and Outcomes of System Implementation – October 2019

Executive Summary:

The Virginia State Police received $1,941,258 (FY 2019 through FY 2020) for the development and implementation of a pilot project to evaluate the applicability of an electronic summons (E-Summons) application in the Northern Virginia region.

In August 2018, the Virginia State Police reviewed and evaluated E-Summons programs and vendors to determine those most suitable based on Department needs and project expectations. Eight vendors were initially identified. The two that appeared to be most suitable were requested to give presentations on their products. Tyler Technologies clearly stood out as the most prepared and experienced and was selected for this pilot. Contract negotiations began immediately to meet the project timeline; however, due to vendor concerns regarding several Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) requirements and mandates, significant delays were encountered in finalizing the project contract. VITA worked closely with the state police and cooperated with Tyler Technologies to address their many questions and concerns regarding Virginia’s security requirements for a cloud based system.

On June 28, 2019, the final contract was signed and implementation began with the selection of 100 troopers and supervisors for program testing and product evaluation. Each of the selected participants was issued updated mobile computer hardware that would enable them to operate the application software necessary for the pilot project. Each computer included technology that would allow the trooper to scan the driver’s license and the vehicle registration to automatically populate the required data fields on the Virginia Uniform Summons. Additionally, each participant was issued a thermal printer to produce the required paper copy of the summons for issuance to the violator.

Enhancing operational efficiency and data accuracy through automation were two of the primary objectives of this pilot project. Data on work activity prior to the pilot project implementation indicated that the average amount of time a trooper spent for traffic violations in the region was approximately 26 minutes per summons. By comparison, the average amount of time troopers spent issuing a traffic summons through the ESummons application was 10 minutes per summons. This represents a 62 percent reduction in time.

This increased efficiency is beneficial to the both the violator and the trooper. Safety is improved for both parties as their exposure to dangerous traffic on the roadside is significantly reduced and the automated transfer of data improves accuracy. In addition, the violator is more quickly able to continue along with their daily activities. The trooper and the agency benefit from the increase in time available for other law enforcement calls for service and general patrol duties.

The state police E-Summons pilot also benefits the Virginia General District Courts in the pilot region through increased efficiencies as traffic case information is electronically uploaded to their case management systems. This process eliminates the need to perform data entry for each summons issued and reduces errors due to illegible handwriting experienced with paper summonses.

Based on the initial evaluation of the E-Summons Pilot Project, a statewide implementation of E-Summons for the Virginia State Police would require several new pieces of equipment to be installed in trooper vehicles. Authorizing the Virginia State Police to retain funding through the Section 17.1-279.1 of the Code of Virginia would be sufficient to sustain the operating costs of the program (including software license fees, program supplies such as thermal printer paper, and both initial and recurring hardware expenses) and allow for incremental expansion of the E-Summons program statewide over several years without utilizing General Funds. This legislative change would also enable the state police to provide essential staffing to manage the administrative needs of the E-Summons application, including program support requirements.