Virginia State Police could get access to a device that could shave 16 minutes off traffic stops if the governor signs the bill.
At a traffic stop, this device would scan the barcode on the back of a license and moments later input all the information into a traffic citation.This cuts down the time an officer would use to traditionally hand write the citation. Then the citation will be printed out on the printer.
Many local departments use the scanners already, including Fairfax County officers, but Virginia State Police don’t have the state authority to use them.
"All we're asking for is the exact same authority the locals have," said Wayne Huggins, executive director of the Virginia State Police Association.
Huggins said in the 1970s his partner was killed on the side of a road by a passing tractor-trailer, and those 16 minutes saved by the scanner could be the difference between someone being hit by a car or not.
“Arguably, when we pull over on the shoulder of the road, whether we're stopping a violator, helping a disabled motorist or investigating a crash, whatever the purpose is, that's the single most dangerous thing we do,” Huggins said.
The bill already passed both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly unanimously, and just needs the governor's signature.
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Despite the convenience the scanner provides, it comes with a price. If Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signs the electronic scanner bill into law, every ticket state police write using the scanner will come with an added $5 to the fine. The extra fee helps cover the cost of the equipment and operating it.
"In our opinion, the advantages far outweigh that five dollar fee,” Huggins said.
News4 reached out to Northam’s office to ask if he plans to sign the bill, but he has yet to comment.