Innovative Policing: Saves Time and Money

Police forces often face budget challenges and time crunches – little money and more work than time allows. In this environment, technological innovations can come slowly, expensive, difficult to deploy and integrate. The challenges for police are not much different than the challenges most people face. With lack of time and stretched resources, even important, unexpected or non-routine tasks become hard to complete. In Texas there is innovation, in law and in technology, to help both the police and the public.

The law in Texas was changed two years ago to allow, and now the technology provides, a means for drivers to pay their past due traffic tickets on the spot even after a warrant for their arrest had been issued for failure to pay. Techsiq , a company that “provides police departments technologies and solution-sets designed to efficiently drive compliance, while increasing public safety,” has introduced a product and service called WarrantPayIQ that enables the process and gives life to the advantages provided for in the law.

Before the legal change and the new technology, a law enforcement would pull over a motorist and during the stop they might become aware that the driver has an outstanding warrant for their arrest due to unpaid traffic tickets. The police would then have to place the driver under arrest, guide them through the expensive jail booking process, put them in jail, so they then could appear before the court. Their car would be impounded and child they had with them, assuming no relative was available to retrieve them, would be given over to the Department of Family and Protective Services.

This series of unfortunate events can be curtailed. Instead of the driver being arrested they have the option to pay the outstanding fines with a debit or credit card. The officer hands the driver a piece of hardware that looks much like a mobile phone nestled in a larger plastic casing. Through easy prompts the driver can pay their fines, ultimately swiping their credit or debit card. Once the fine is taken care of, the family continues on its way. Even with this new law and technology in place, the driver will still have the option to be taken to jail and face the court and contest the fine and warrant.

The benefits to society are obvious. Law enforcement runs more efficiently. instead of time and resources are prioritized to the most serious offenders, hence relieving jail crowding. Having the fines paid with less hassle and expense provides the anticipated resources to the jurisdiction to meet their budgetary expectations. But most importantly, citizens have a means for avoiding the embarrassment, disruption and additional costs associated with being arrested and taken to jail.

Innovation can disrupt processes, organizations and even whole industries often causing confusion and angst until a new means of operation emerges. In this case, the citizens are the winners and the winning effects immediate.


Bartlett Cleland
Center for Innovation and Technology

In Depth: Innovation

Whether improving processes, creating products or developing new ideas, the application of technology can enable real changes in how state government works, both in quality of services delivered to constituents, cost savings and quality of life. States have the opportunity in our national balance of government power, to address policy…

+ Innovation In Depth