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Posted on: December 4, 2019

PD introduces major technology upgrades

New ticket system

Some officers have begun using these hand-held devices and portable printers when issuing tickets for parking violations and traffic violations.

The City of Minot’s Police Department is in the process of making a couple of major upgrades in technology.

The Minot City Council approved spending approximately $84,000 on a new in-car video system for the Police Department’s vehicles. Capt. John Klug said the department will purchase the new system in January.

The Axon Fleet System will be a major upgrade over the department’s current system, and will sync with body cam devices worn by officers, which will allow easy access and investigation of incidents. An additional feature allows the in-car camera to activate when the vehicle reaches a certain speed. The new system will also upgrade the quality of video and the efficiency of locating and sharing all digital evidence.

 “This system will be a time-saver for us, and it will help us archive and store data for future use,” Klug said. “Video is an important piece of many cases, and with the new system, we’ll be able to store all the data associated with a case in one place so it’s much easier to access.”

Klug said once everything is in use and the Police Department is trained, the new system will provide benefits for not only the department, but for local prosecutors and defense attorneys.

“Once the system is fully functional, we’ll be able to enter a case number and have access to all the electronic data that goes with that case,” Klug said. “Our data will be available to share with City and Ward County prosecutors, and they can share it with defense attorneys. It’s going to be a really good tool for us.”

Klug said the system has additional features that will be beneficial to the department. Axon Capture allows officers to use a smart phone or other device to take photos at a crime scene and upload them directly to the storage system, preserving additional evidence for investigators and prosecutors.

Axon Citizen gives the Police Department the capability to send an upload link to a victim or witness of a crime, allowing additional videos or photos for evidence to be uploaded to the video storage system.

“The Axon Fleet system for the in-car video is the last cog in the wheel to have a fully functional digital storage system that will track digital evidence tied to a case,” Klug said.

The data will be stored in a cloud-based storage system, with unlimited storage capabilities. As part of the five-year contract, Klug said the PD will be provided with the latest equipment every two-and-a-half years.

“Once we purchase the system, the company will send trainers here to help us learn how to use it,” Klug said. “I don’t anticipate the installation of the new cameras will take very long, since it’s essentially swapping out the old cameras for the new ones.”

The department currently uses 60 body cameras and 20 vehicle cameras.

Another new system will make the process of writing traffic tickets much easier and less time-consuming.

Some officers have begun using hand-held devices and portable printers when issuing tickets for parking violations and traffic violations. The new system will also speed up traffic stops by allowing officers to electronically print tickets instead of writing tickets by hand. If multiple violations occur, multiple tickets can easily be printed using the same data entered into the system.

“It’s been a little bit of a learning curve, but I haven’t heard anything negative about this new system,” Klug said. “The public will notice that the ticket isn’t the big yellow card anymore. Instead it looks like a receipt, but we’ll make sure we clearly label the envelope that comes with the new ticket so people notice that it’s a ticket.”

Klug said the new system will save significant time because employees at Municipal Court and the Police Department won’t have to manually enter information; the new system will tie directly into both the records and court systems.

“Saving time means we’ll be saving money,” Klug said. “We estimate that the $48,000 cost of the new system will be paid for in three years just through savings in efficiency. Plus, employees who previously spent time manually inputting data can be more productive in other areas of their job.”

Klug said the new system allows supervisors to better analyze job performance by tracking how many tickets officers write and what type of tickets are being written. It also increases transparency and accountability, he said.

The new ticket system is scheduled to be fully functioning by Jan. 1.

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