TEXARKANA, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – If you’re pulled over for a traffic stop, be prepared to provide more than just your license and registration. Police in Texarkana are also taking your picture.
In Texarkana, Texas, police make more than 13,000 traffic stops a year. A majority of those happen along the Interstate 30 access roads.
“We don’t really focus on writing citations as much as we do just stopping violators and trying to make them aware of the traffic laws,” said Darren Jones, an officer with the Texarkana, Texas, Police Department’s traffic division. “That way we prevent some crashes.”
Jones helps keep streets safe by using a laser to focus on the front license plate of vehicles to pinpoint their speed. In a span of about 30 minutes Thursday morning, Jones stopped four vehicles for driving over the speed limit. Each driver left with a warning after leaving their photo.
“I think it’s good, that way people can’t use other people’s identities to try to bypass law and get themselves out of trouble,” said Jenifer Jefferies, a driver.
Police use electronic ticket writers to snap a picture of drivers pulled over for citations or warnings.
“If they don’t have their drivers license or whatever, they’ll lie to us,” said Shawn Vaughn, Texarkana, Texas, Police Department. “It happens quite often.”
The photos are shared directly with the court.
“A lot can be done with testimony, but a video or a photograph – any time you can get that, it takes a world of guesswork out,” said Municipal Judge Sherry Hawkins.
Hawkins said she sees countless cases where people have lied about their identities during traffic stops. Photos from the scene allow the judge to more easily determine if the person appearing in court is the same person who received the citation.
“Technology is not perfect, but it’s much better than what we had before,” said Hawkins.
Texarkana police officers on both sides of the state line snap photos of drivers stopped for traffic violations. They say the most common reason people are pulled over is for speeding.
Shreveport police do not use electronic ticket writers and still write tickets the old-fashioned way on paper. They said they do not take photos of drivers.