Traffic Enforcement Plays an Important Part in the US Criminal Justice System

Nlets released the following:

By: Kayelyn Means

Nlets: The International Justice and Public Safety Network

Traffic enforcement is often an extensive part of a law enforcement official’s day to day job. In these tough economic times it is expensive and difficult for agencies to meet the traffic enforcement needs within their community. Companies specializing in red light, speed and toll violation cameras have found and important technical niche in providing contracted solutions to law enforcement agencies as integral resources used by law enforcement to determine traffic violators and issue the proper citations. Nlets, the International Justice and Public Safety Network, has also expanded its focus to serve as a resource in traffic enforcement.

Each time a law enforcement official sends a registration or driver’s license query beyond their state borders, it travels across the Nlets network and back in less than a second – more than 100 million times each month. Without realizing it, law enforcement officials use the Nlets network every time they send a query out of state, which is often the case with traffic violations. Very few law enforcement officials know about this driving force providing them information and working to expand their information sharing capabilities, particularly in their pursuit to enforce state and local traffic laws.

Nlets, the International Justice and Public Safety Network, is a 501(c)3 not for profit organization owned and governed by the states. With an operational site located in Arizona, the state-of-the-art Nlets system and network provides information services, data sharing, and support for justice-related agencies across the country, connecting states, federal agencies, and select regional and international agencies.

The Nlets network runs over 1 billion transactions each year, connecting 45,000 user agencies, 1.3 million pc, mobile and handheld devices in the U.S., and more than 1.2 million users, and runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year with an average uptime of 99.99%. These transactions range from driver’s license and registration queries to concealed weapon permits, state warrant and criminal history queries, and many others.

Through some of Nlets’ expanding initiatives to aide with law enforcement, twenty-seven states are also currently sharing driver’s license and corrections photos with other states across the Nlets network. Another exciting Nlets’ project includes a National License Plate Reader (LPR) Pointer System prototype that will index LPR images nationally for law enforcement inquiry. Nlets strives to also assist traffic enforcement by partnering with red light, speed, and toll violation companies through a strictly regimented strategic partner program that is approved by the states. Red light and speed camera companies use automated camera technology to provide speed and red light enforcement services to traffic and law enforcement agencies throughout the country, while toll violation camera companies capture images of vehicles in violation of toll way laws. With the combined efforts of Nlets and law enforcement contracted traffic violation camera companies, vehicle registration data is shared quickly and efficiently to better serve traffic enforcement working to accurately determine all violators, and prevent further traffic violations.

“By partnering with Nlets, traffic violation camera companies that are contractually obligated to specific law enforcement agencies have secure, appropriate and limited access to motor vehicle registration data to better serve their customers – law enforcement,” says Kyle Darnell, Nlets Project Manager responsible for Nlets partnerships.

Nlets has been partnering with traffic violation companies since 2004, when it first partnered with the American Traffic Solution (ATS). Nlets now has eight active partners in the industry and three more in development. Technology and enforcement are here to stay in these tough economic times.

“Our traffic violation company partners streamline the enforcement process for the jurisdictions it serves. It also enables local police departments to issue tickets to out-of-state vehicles which will results in more effective enforcement for law enforcement,” says Kyle Darnell.

On another important technology front, for the past several years Nlets has been working on another sharing initiative, the Nlets Interstate Sharing of Photos (NISP), which currently provides the interstate sharing of driver’s license and corrections images to law enforcement agencies in 27 states, as they query an individual over the Nlets network.

This initiative functions as a grant funded by the National Institute of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security. The major benefits of sharing driver’s license and corrections images include the straightforward, instant, photo identification and detection of fraudulent use of driver’s licenses or other false identification.

“It is essential that we provide law enforcement and public safety officials with the capability to share interstate driver license and corrections images over Nlets. Law enforcement needs access to images to protect the public, as well as for their own safety,” says Wendy Brinkley, Nlets North Carolina representative and past Nlets President. “The interstate sharing of images over Nlets plays an integral part in saving time and effort, and increasing the safety of officers and citizens.”

Currently, 27 states are in production to share driver’s license and corrections images, with eight more scheduled for development in 2011-2012. Nlets hopes to further spread this capability to all 50 states and each of the U.S. territories, as the individual states become technically able to do so. This job will not be done and, Nlets will continue working with each state and grant funders until this important capability is implemented in every state.

In a recent effectiveness study of states participating in NISP, all participants reported success in general state law and traffic enforcement, and improved ability for making positive identification of individuals, and the vast majority of the participants reported success in regional and local law enforcement, as well as improvements in detecting ID theft and in apprehensions.

In addition to sharing driver’s license images and partnering with traffic enforcement, Nlets is working to create a LPR Pointer System prototype to establish a single national LPR repository that law and traffic enforcement agencies across all states can access to determine if a license plate has been captured by an LPR camera.

“The national LPR Pointer System that is being created will provide a valuable tool set to law enforcement in the US and Canada for years to come,” says Frank Minice, Nlets Chief Information Technology Officer. “In addition to serving as a national search capability for license plate readers, this will work with Nlets’ proactive alerting notification capability project, which is still in development.”

This repository will consist of meta-data about the capture event (date, time and location coordinates), the license plate number, any agencies capturing the data, and possibly a thumbnail image of the license plate.

“With this prototype, a law enforcement agency can query one location, Nlets, to find out if a license plate has been captured in an area, region, or across the entire United States. This also allows for proactive alerting to notify a law enforcement agency as soon as a license plate they are looking for is added to the Nlets repository,” said Ted Rainer, who is leading the Nlets LPR Pointer System prototype project.

The Pointer System will be housed at the Nlets facility, but will be accessible by all states and agencies connected to the Nlets network.

While these initiatives are in the forefront of Nlets’ work with traffic enforcement, there are many other projects and grants in production in the background, all with the common mission to enhance information and data sharing, and increase officer safety. Nlets is always looking for ways to expand and seeking ideas for new grants and projects that serve the Nlets vision, “To continue to be the premier provider of the network, system and services that will support and encourage a totally standardized, integrated, international justice system.”

To learn more about Nlets, please visit”


Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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