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HomeMy WebLinkAboutPolicy 208 – Traffic Enforcement PolicyOSHKOSH POLICE DEPARTMENT POLICY AND PROCEDURE TITLE: TRAFFIC LAW ENFORCEMENT POLICY SERIES: 208 Effective Date: 12-06-2019 Date Issued: 11-21-2019 Chief of Police: Dean Smith (signature on file) Date Signed: 11-21-2019 CALEA Standard: 1.2.7; 1.2.9; 61.1.1; 61.1.2; 61.1.3; 61.1.4; 61.1.5; 61.1.6; 61.1.7; 61.1.8; 61.1.9; 61.1.11; 61.1.12; 82.3.3; 82.3.4 Final Review Completed: 11-21-2019 Review By: PSD Lieutenant / Command Staff Rescinds Policy Dated: October 19, 2019 208.01 Policy 208.02 Purpose 208.03 Definitions 208.04 Parking Regulations 208.05 Traffic Law Enforcement 208.06 General and Selective Enforcement 208.07 Guidelines for Specific Violations 208.08 Special Enforcement Considerations 208.09 Vehicle Traffic Stops 208.10 Stopping Site / Preliminary Safeguards 208.11 Approaching the Vehicle 208.12 Contacts with Motorists 208.13 Uniform Traffic Citation Processing and Maintenance 1 208.01 POLICY A. The traffic enforcement objective of the Oshkosh Police Department is to reduce traffic accidents and injuries, and to facilitate the safe and expeditious flow of traffic through the public's voluntary compliance with traffic regulations. The Police Department seeks to achieve these objectives through a combination of education and enforcement. B. The Department will educate the public regarding traffic regulations through programs aimed at identifying specific problems, publishing traffic accident and injury statistics, and by giving notice and warnings of changes in regulations prior to taking enforcement action. 208.02 PURPOSE A. This document is intended to establish guidelines for personnel of the Oshkosh Police Department and develop a uniform approach to traffic law enforcement. Many contacts between officers and civilians are traffic oriented. Officers have a broad range of discretion when performing their official duties. Decisions to make traffic contacts, to detain and investigate, search, seize, and to take enforcement action are among the most common. It is important for this agency to be fair and impartial in the application of law enforcement activities. The Oshkosh Police Department adopts the values of compassion and professionalism with the goal of emphasizing service, courtesy, ethics, diversity and cultural awareness. B. The Oshkosh Police Department does not condone, nor will it tolerate, race -based generalizations and acts, which include racial or bias based profiling, uttering racial epithets, or making law enforcement decisions based on race. Oshkosh police officers will not use racial or ethnic stereotypes as factors in selecting whom to stop and whom to search. Officers may only use race or ethnicity to determine whether a person matches a specific description of a particular suspect. 208.03 DEFINITIONS A. Area Patrol — Mobile or stationary observation in a district or reporting area, which includes a number of streets, roads or sections of highway. 2 B. Bias -Based Profiling — the selection of individuals based solely on a common trait of a group. C. Covert Observation - observation made by an observer that is not visible from the roadway by a person using ordinary means of viewing. D. Custodial Arrest - Any enforcement action that results in taking a person into custody for the purpose of holding or detaining them to answer to a charge before a court. E. Hazardous Violation — A traffic violation that poses a direct threat to the safe movement of vehicle or pedestrian traffic. F. Line Patrol - Patrol or observation of a specified route between two points, usually one street. G. Non -hazardous Violation - A traffic law violation that does not pose a direct threat to the safe movement of vehicular or pedestrian traffic. H. Racial Profiling — Any police -initiated action that relies upon race, ethnicity, or national origin of an individual rather than the behavior of that individual or information that leads the police to a particular individual who has been identified as being engaged in or having been engaged in criminal activity. I. Race -Based Generalizations — Broad, stereotypical conclusions about a person based on race or ethnicity. J. Racial Epithets — Derogatory phrases and terms, which are used to describe a persons' race or ethnicity. K. Selective Traffic Enforcement - The assignment of personnel to traffic enforcement activities at times or locations where hazardous or congested conditions exist. Such assignments are usually based on such factors as traffic volume, accident experience and frequency of violations. L. Stationary Observation - Traffic observation at selected locations for law enforcement purposed particularly the detection and deterrence of violations. 3 M. Traffic Law Violation - Violation of any statute, ordinance or legally authorized regulation relating to the use of highways or the operation and ownership of motor vehicles of other road vehicles. 208.04 PARKING REGULATIONS A. Parking is regulated throughout the city to ensure fair access to parking and expedite the flow of traffic. All parking regulations will be enforced impartially. Directive 204 provides an explanation of the City's overnight parking regulations. B. Primary parking enforcement is the responsibility of Community Service Officers with all personnel expected to take appropriate action when aware of a violation. Enforcement of metered or restricted parking areas throughout the city is primarily carried out by the Parking Utility Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm. C. Illegal parking causes the greatest problems during peak traffic times. Officers should be aware of the areas and times of greatest traffic and address parking problems before traffic becomes congested. D. Parking tickets may be withdrawn by the issuing officer, except, no employee of the Department may withdraw a parking ticket issued to another member of the Department, family member or personal friend. To contest such a ticket, a ticket review form (FO4-0987) must be submitted to the Chief of Police or a Bureau Commander as outlined in Directive 110. 208.05 TRAFFIC LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITIES A. The primary responsibility for planning, analysis, monitoring and coordination of the agencies traffic function resides with the Operations Bureau Commander. Activities of the traffic function include accident investigation, speed, OWI, and other law enforcement, parking and traffic control and traffic safety. B. At least annually, the Operations Bureau Commander must provide shift commanders with enforcement/accident data summaries. These will include at least: numbers of accidents for the specified period, primary causes of accidents, number of citations issued for specified violations. The format of the summaries should present the data as concisely as possible followed by any interpretation or 4 analysis as deemed appropriate by the Commander. Analysis of accidents is to include the temporal, geographic and causative factors of the accidents. Time periods covered by the summary should include the period since the last report was provided. C. The primary responsibility for enforcing traffic laws and regulations is shared by all uniformed officers. Officers must take appropriate action when there is probable cause, either through personal observation or after an investigation, that a traffic law or ordinance has been violated. Actions must include a written warning, citation or custodial arrest. The course of action shall be determined by the officers' discretion considering the circumstances of the violation, however some form of paperwork, such as a citation, written warning or incident report, will be completed on all stops, except under emergency circumstances. Officers' discretion should be applied considering the following criteria: 1. Weather and roadway conditions. 2. Traffic volume (vehicles and pedestrians). 3. Intentional or inadvertent violation. 4. Seriousness of the violation. 5. Whether enforcement action protects the interests of others involved. 6. Does the action accomplish a legitimate police purpose. 7. Record of the violator. 8. Deterrent effect of the enforcement action. D. Citations should be issued at motor vehicle accidents when there is sufficient evidence to substantiate a violation. Supportive verbal or written statements of drivers, witnesses or passengers will be included. Officers' reports must be complete and enforcement action will be impartial. E. Guidelines for determining appropriate enforcement action: 5 1. Written warning - Appropriate when the officer believes the violation was inadvertent or does not constitute a serious violation and the action is sufficient for deterrence. 2. Citations - Appropriate for serious, intentional, and most other violations that result in an accident. Citations may also be appropriate for minor infractions when the officer determines the violators' driving history or demeanor indicates a warning would have little impact upon the persons' behavior. a. Citations must be prepared completely and in accordance with training. Citations issued to motorists shall not be withdrawn without the approval of the officers' shift commander. Such permission is not authorized for traffic crimes or charges that would be crimes for second offenses. Officers do not need specific approval to amend citations involving speeding, licensing or registration. 3. Custodial arrests - Decisions for placing traffic violators in the county jail or requiring bonds must conform to statutes or the Wisconsin Supreme Court "preamble for forfeiture and misdemeanor bail schedules" found in the Wisconsin Uniform State Traffic Deposit Schedule or Oshkosh Police Policy 109.06. 4. Arrest and Supplemental Reports - Any report which is written to accompany a traffic arrest should be turned in along with any other related citations or documents to ensure proper routing to the Court Clerk. 208.06 GENERAL AND SELECTIVE TRAFFIC LAW ENFORCEMENT A. The responsibility of providing general traffic law enforcement and to develop selective enforcement programs rests with the patrol shift commanders. B. Officers are encouraged to initiate patrol practices involving area or line patrol and stationary observation based on their personal experience and observations of traffic conditions in their area. Highly visible patrol techniques are the greatest single deterrent to traffic violations. C. Shift commanders will deploy their personnel for general duties, while considering the needs of the city as they relate to the safe movement of all traffic. When 6 possible, selective traffic enforcement assignments should be made so that there are more officers deployed in areas having the greatest concentration of accidents and calls for traffic services, and at the times experience has shown these occur. The purpose of these assignments is to take enforcement action against those violations identified as a potential for causing accidents or other traffic problems. A written evaluation of all selective enforcement activities measuring the effectiveness of the activity shall be completed by the supervisor making the assignment. The evaluation shall be forwarded to the Captain of Patrol Services Bureau (PSB) for review. D. In making selective enforcement assignments, shift commanders should consider: 1. Analysis of the agencies traffic accident and enforcement activities as provided by the Patrol Bureau Commander. 2. Enforcement measures that best affect the factors (human, vehicular, environment) that contribute to accidents and violations. 3. The type of enforcement practices (area, line or directed patrol, covert or overt stationary observation, marked or unmarked vehicles, roadside safety checks) to have the greatest overall effect on the problem. 4. Unmarked and unconventional vehicles have little deterrent effect. These assignments should be limited to situations where the enforcement action will be enhanced by covert observation or unmarked cars. 208.07 GUIDELINES FOR ENFORCEMENT OF SPECIFIC VIOLATIONS Speeding A. Speed violations may be enforced by use of radar or laser. B. Officers using radar or laser speed measuring devices must be trained in the use of those items by a certified instructor. C. Speed measuring devices used by Oshkosh Police will meet standards of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA certificates for each radar or laser unit will be retained for the operational life of the unit. 7 D. Speed measurement is used to enforce traffic regulations and also as a deterrent to possible violations that will increase traffic safety. The use of radar and lasers is encouraged in areas of special consideration, such as: 1. School zones; 2. Residential areas with major thoroughfares; 3. Wherever special traffic enforcement needs have been identified. E. When operating radar, the officers should: 1. Place themselves on radar assignment on their MDC F. The following inspections and tests must be performed: 1. Visual inspection for damage to unit or cords. 2. Testing in accordance with manufacturer's recommendations: Radar: a. At the beginning and end of the time period the unit is in use, b. After every location change, c. After each radar traffic stop. Laser: a. At the beginning and end of each shift. G. This procedure will be noted on the appropriate radar or laser log sheet. It allows for officer and equipment reliability in court testimony. If a unit fails to meet manufacturers' standards for test results, it shall be removed from service and given to a supervisor along with an equipment repair slip (Form OPD4). 1. Radar units will be stored in the vehicle the unit has been assigned to. Laser radar units will be kept in cases located in the property room near the safety building roll call room when not in the officers' possession. H. The Operations Bureau Commander or a designee must ensure: 8 1. Radar units meet the NHTSA standards and are properly calibrated upon initial receipt from the manufacturer; 2. Programmed maintenance required by the manufacturer is accomplished on schedule; 3. Units are in working order and repaired and re -calibrated as necessary; 4. All records of calibration, certification, and repairs are maintained on file for department radar units. I. Hazardous Violations 1. Hazardous violations include excessive speed, disregard of traffic signals or signs, alcohol and drug offenses involving the operation of a motor vehicle, reckless driving, attempting to elude officers and other serious offenses. Officers shall attempt to vigorously enforce these violations and cite or incarcerate the offender as directed by statute and the bail schedule, because of the danger involved. J. Non -Hazardous Violations 1. Non -hazardous violations include equipment, parking, licensing, registration and other similar violations. Officers should enforce these violations and take action as appropriate within the law to encourage compliance with all traffic regulations. K. Multiple Violations 1. It is within officers' discretion to issue multiple citations for multiple violations from the same incident. Officers should be primarily concerned with issuing citations for the most serious offenses. 2. Incidents which involve an inclusive charge such as eluding an officer or reckless driving, should not result in individual charges for all lesser violations. L. Equipment Violations 9 1. Violations of Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 347, Trans 305 or city ordinances relating to vehicle equipment can be addressed either with a written warning or citation as deemed appropriate. Trans 305 violations require reference to the regulations for the specific number of the particular violation, and must be handled through the District Attorneys' Office. M. Public Carrier/Commercial Vehicle Violations 1. The enforcement of traffic laws apply equally to public carriers, commercial and private vehicles. Officers should attempt to expedite enforcement actions when dealing with a public carrier to avoid undue delay to passengers. 2. Should it become necessary to detain the operator of a commercial vehicle, officers must make reasonable efforts to protect valuable cargo or arrange for transportation of passengers. N. License Revocation and Suspension Violations 1. The Driving Status of drivers stopped for any traffic violation should be checked at the time of the stop, if DOT records are available. 2. Except for unusual circumstances, a DOT driver status of "Revoked" or "Suspended", coupled with the officers' observation of the operation of the vehicle, is sufficient probable cause to issue a citation for OAR or OWS. 3. Offenses for OAR or OWS involve various penalties, but incarceration decisions must be made in accordance with the preamble for forfeiture and misdemeanor bail schedules cited in 208.05 above. In these instances, drivers should not be allowed to continue operating the vehicle. The vehicle will generally remain the responsibility of the person cited. 4. If the driver status of a person cannot be readily determined, and no other violations required enforcement action, the driver can be released after gathering as much identifying information as possible. Subsequent determination of revocation or suspension should result in follow-up and enforcement action as appropriate. 10 O. Newly Enacted Laws or ordinances 1. Officers should use their discretion when enforcing newly enacted or amended traffic regulations. For a period of 30 days after the enactment or amendment of a traffic law, officers should consider the issuance of written warnings, unless it is apparent the violator was aware of the law and more stringent action is indicated. P. Driver Referral for Reexamination 1. Officers may occasionally question the ability of a person to operate a motor vehicle. This may be due to physical or mental deficiency, chronic use of alcohol or drugs, lack of knowledge or driving skill. 2. When this occurs, and other enforcement is not indicated, the person should be referred to the Department of Transportation for re-examination. Complete and mail a Driver Condition and Behavior Report, DOT form MVD-3141 6-80. It is not required that other enforcement action is taken prior to a referral for reexamination. Q. Bicycle and Pedestrian Enforcement 1. All Police and Community Service Officers should be familiar with city ordinances and state traffic regulations relating to pedestrian traffic and the safe operation of bicycles. 2. Officers observing violations of pedestrian and bicycle regulations should take appropriate enforcement action. Juvenile offenders under 12 years of age should be warned or instructed about failure to obey regulations. Parents should be contacted if appropriate. Juveniles over 12 years of age can be issued municipal citations. R. OMVWI: See OMVWI Procedure 214. 208.08 SPECIAL ENFORCEMENT CONSIDERATIONS A. Non-resident Traffic Violators 11 1. Persons receiving traffic citations for traffic ordinance or state traffic forfeiture violations who are not Wisconsin residents and do not possess a Wisconsin driver's license shall be released from custody without a cash bond unless any of the following exist: a. The accused does not have proper identification. b. The accused appears to represent a danger of harm to himself or herself, another person or property. c. The accused cannot show sufficient evidence of ties to the community. d. The accused has previously failed to appear in court or failed to respond to a citation. e. Arrest or further detention is necessary to carry out legitimate investigative action in accordance with law enforcement agency policies. 2. Officers should make reasonable efforts to allow non -local persons to contact someone to post deposits on their behalf. If a person is unable to make a deposit, he/she may be incarcerated in the County jail if such action complies with the "preamble for forfeiture and misdemeanor bail schedules" and is approved by a supervisor. Supervisors have the discretion to waive the required deposit if it is determined that incarceration is not appropriate. B. Juvenile Traffic Offenses 1. Juvenile arrest procedures are explained in Policy 411. C. Legislators 1. Officers encountering persons who identify themselves as Legislators and are claiming immunity due to their position or function should contact a supervisor. Barring exigent circumstances, Legislators shall be treated no differently than other citizens. 12 D. Military Personnel 1. When active duty persons of the armed forces or civilian employees of the military, and while acting within the scope of their employment, including reserve unit training, are involved in an accident resulting in death or serious injury, a supervisor must be notified. Military law enforcement authorities from the proper branch of the service are to be notified. 2. All active duty military personnel who possess a valid Wisconsin drivers license, or who are assigned to military installations within the state, shall be considered state residents for purposes of bonds and deposits. E. Owners of Vehicles involved in Violations Of 346.04(3) Fleeing a Traffic Officer 1. State Statute 346.175 holds that the owner of a vehicle involved in the fleeing of a traffic officer liable for the offense, if the driver cannot be identified. When officers of the department are issuing citations for this violation, the following conditions are to apply: a. If the driver of the vehicle involved in the offense is convicted, the owner of the vehicle is not liable if the vehicle was not in their control at the time of the offense. b. If the driver of the vehicle involved in the offense is not identified, the officer may proceed against the owner by: i. Within 72 hours after observing the violation, the traffic officer shall investigate the violation and prepare a uniform traffic citation under statute 345.11 for the violation. Within 96 hours after observing the violation, any traffic officer employed by the authority issuing the citation may personally serve it upon the owner of the vehicle. ii. If with reasonable diligence, the owner of the vehicle can be served under paragraph one, service may be made by leaving the citation at owner's residence within this state in the presence of a competent member of the family, who is at least 14 years of age. If the citation is served on a member of the family, other than the 13 owner, the officer will explain the contents of the citation to that family member. Service under this paragraph may be done by any traffic officer of the authority issuing the citation, and must be done within 96 hours after the observing of the offense. iii. If with reasonable diligence the owner cannot be served under paragraphs 1 or 2 or if the owner lives outside the jurisdiction of the issuing authority, service may be made by certified mail addressed to the owners last known address. Service under this paragraph shall be performed by posting using certified mail within 96 hours after the violation was observed. The posting of the citation shall be done by the Departments Court Clerk. 208.09 VEHICLE TRAFFIC STOPS A. All police personnel must regard every vehicle stop as a potentially dangerous confrontation. The following procedures should be considered when stopping a vehicle: 1. Whenever possible, approach and position the police unit close enough to discourage flight. 2. Do not give the violator any indication that a stop is being contemplated until the patrol car is within a short distance from the violator. 3. Vehicle emergency equipment must be activated in conformity with the State Statute and Policy 203. Unmarked police vehicles shall only be used to make traffic stops if the unmarked vehicle is equipped with at least one flashing, rotating or oscillating red/blue lights and a siren. Officers in unmarked police vehicles contacting vehicle occupants in any vehicle stop must have a department issued cloth or metal badge in plain view and Dept. ID on their person and immediately identify themselves as an officer of the Oshkosh Police Department. 4. The violator's attention may be obtained by tapping the horn, or using the siren. At night, the headlights may be quickly switched from low to high beam and 14 then back. If the driver fails to heed to the horn or headlight signals, the siren must be used. 5. Officers must be alert to avoid a collision if the violator makes an abrupt stop. 6. Pursuit of vehicles is addressed in Policy 203. 208.10 STOPPING SITE/PRELIMINARY SAFEGUARDS A. If physical setting permits, the police vehicle shall be stopped approximately ten feet to the rear and two to three feet to the left of the violator's car. This offset position affords the safety zone or lane to protect the officer from passing traffic when the officer leaves the car to confront the driver. B. If possible, avoid stopping a violator directly on the roadway, on hills, curves, or at points narrowed by guard-rails, or in areas congested with pedestrian traffic. Emergency lights shall remain in operation during the entire stop to warn approaching motorists of the stop in or near the path of travel. It is also recommended that four-way flashers be used. C. At night, all available light including spotlights, from the patrol vehicle should be directed to the violator's vehicle to facilitate full inspection. Choose a stopping location, which is well lighted, if possible. D. Before leaving the police vehicle to speak with the violator, the officer should, if possible: 1. Notify the Communications Center that he/she is engaged in a traffic stop. 2. Wait for radio acknowledgment. 3. Give the location and license number of the vehicle. If no license number is available, give the vehicle description. 4. Insure that rotating or flashing red/blue lights are engaged as well as the vehicle's hazard flashing lights. 15 208.11 APPROACHING THE VEHICLE A. During the stop, approach, and violator contact, the officer must be alert for suspicious or hostile actions by the violator or passenger in the violator's vehicle. B. For serious offenders or possibly hazardous situations, officers may wish to instruct stopped drivers through the use of the public address equipment. C. Watch the occupants of the stopped vehicle for unusual movement or changes in the seating positions. D. The violators' vehicle should be approached from the left rear. The officer should be aware of the number of occupants that are visible. Upon approaching the vehicle, it is a good policy for officers to place their hand on the fender or trunk at arms' length and pause long enough to feel for movement from within the vehicle. E. The officer should walk to a point even with the center door post and slightly to the rear of the driver's door, look through the rear window while approaching and observe the rear seat area. If the rear seat area is occupied, the passengers must be kept in view at all times. The officer should never turn his/her back on the violator or the occupants. 208.12 CONTACTS WITH MOTORISTS A. Officers must conduct themselves in a courteous and professional manner during traffic contacts. They should not argue the merits of a particular enforcement action or be dissuaded from the action, unless extenuating circumstances are clearly present. Officers should explain why an action is being taken, the elements of the offense, and the consequences of the enforcement action, if requested. B. After approaching the violators' vehicle and making contact with the driver, Officers shall use the Tactical 8-Step Traffic Stop procedure: 1. Greet the driver: "Good morning Sir/Maam" 2. Identify yourself and Dept.: "I'm Officer of the Oshkosh Police Dept. 16 3. State Reason for the Stop: "I stopped you (would like to talk to you) because 4. Justification: "Is there is any legal justification for your actions?" 5. Obtain Driver's License or ID: Information can be verified through Department of Transportation records. 6. Questions and Answers: Ask for any other relevant information, i.e. registration etc., and determine if that information is current. Inform driver you will be checking the information and will return to their car shortly. 7. Decision: Decide to cite, arrest or release. Make computer inquiries and complete appropriate paperwork. 8. Closing: Re -approach driver and issue paperwork along with an educational brochure describing police vehicle stops. C. When there is a citation or custodial arrest, officers must inform the violator of: 1. Court appearance date and time for non -criminal violations. The motorist will be notified by the District Attorneys' office when to appear for Criminal violations. 2. Whether the violation requires a mandatory court appearance. 3. Whether payment of a forfeiture is allowed by mail and where it should be sent. 4. Answers to relevant questions. D. Officers must not accept anything other than requested documents from the violator or detain the violator any longer than is necessary to accomplish the enforcement activity. E. After the issuance of the citation or written warning, the officer should assist the violator to re-enter the flow of traffic safely, if possible. 17 F. On occasion, violators may attempt to leave their vehicle. If the officer has reason to believe that his/her safety is being threatened, that officer should take steps to reduce or eliminate the danger. The officer has the authority to order the violator to remain in the car or to order them out of the car. Officers may attempt to convince the violator to remain in their vehicle for their own safety and the safety of the officer. G. Officers must avoid routinely placing violators in the squad car. When a violator is arrested, the officer must follow procedures outlined in Policy 205, Transporting Persons in Custody. H. Any citizen complaints against Oshkosh Police Department policies, procedures or employees shall be handled consistent with Policy 103. 208.12 Uniform Traffic Citation Processing and Maintenance A. Electronic Citations (ELCI) 1. The State of Wisconsin uses a uniform electronic system called Badger TraCS to store, complete, and process traffic citations electronically. 2. Officers shall use Badger TraCS to issue all traffic citations unless permitted to utilize paper citations by a supervisor. 3. Blocks of citations are maintained sequentially in Badger TraCS and are available to officers on their MDC when logged into the system. 4. Electronic citations which have been issued or voided remain in Badger TraCS until they are processed by a Court Clerk and transmitted electronically to the District Attorney's Office or Clerk of Courts. 5. The citations are then archived in Badger TraCS and copies are placed and maintained in secured files by the Court Clerks for future court proceedings. 6. Once the court cases have concluded the files are stored and/or disposed of in compliance with the City of Oshkosh Records Retention Policy. B. Paper Uniform Traffic Citations (UTC's) 18 1. Paper UTC's are stored securely in the Patrol Operations Center. 2. Paper UTC's shall be checked out from a supervisor when needed and unused citations returned when no longer needed. 3. Supervisors shall log the UTC's checked out and returned by officers on a log sheet. 4. Issued and Voided UTC's shall be turned into by officers to report processing to be processed and placed in records. 5. Paper UTC's are processed by court clerks for court proceedings in the same fashion as electronic citations. 19