Guidelines for a Suspended or Revoked Operator Enforcement Program

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Part One: Administrative Guidelines

General

The "Hot Sheet" program targets flagrant abuses to the administrative license sanctioning process. Names of multiple offenders are extracted from a data file provided by the state motor vehicle administration and arranged numerically on a list according to degree of seriousness. This list is printed and distributed to patrol units by geographic boundaries (residence or place of employment). Officers can be creative and apply whatever detection method (legal) fits their normal patrol activities, and can refer to the list as needed. The "Hot Sheet" Program is an efficient, inexpensive, and effective enforcement program which does not stretch existing resources and enables administrators to improve their delivery of police traffic services.

The purpose of this document is to provide the reader with sufficient information and direction to combat an identified problem. Any agency planning to initiate the "Hot Sheet" program should also plan to integrate the effort with a continuing, systematic, and aggressive public education and information program. This approach will maximize the deterrent effect, and increase the "perceived risk of apprehension."

Problem Identification/Needs Assessment

The importance of conducting a thorough needs assessment, based on factual information, is critical to the formulation of an effective enforcement program, and is the first step in the administrative process. Once the size, scope, and nature of the problem are identified, administrators can focus on the formulation of a plan. The initial phase in the planning process is data collection. At a minimum, you must have access to the following information:

  • A list of all suspended or revoked drivers, by name and address;
  • A system of uniform data elements between participating agencies to ease data collection and evaluation;
  • An established criterion for identifying the habitual offender.

For example, most State Departments of Motor Vehicle (DMV) can provide inquiring law enforcement personnel with a list of suspended or revoked operators by town, city, or county. This initial list may be large and unmanageable, depending upon the magnitude of the problem in your area. Once the problem is identified, the next step is to determine the offenders to be targeted (i.e., 5, 10, 15 offenses or more). By working closely with the DMV, and with an established enforcement criterion, future lists can be modified to suit your program. Also, by revising your target population you could establish a "top 10" list that has many individual, internal incentive possibilities. In using the "top ten" list, you would basically be targeting the "worst of the worst" offenders in your area.

In the pilot testing, participating agencies reported that using a "top ten" list proved very successful because: (1) the lists were manageable; (2) officers were interested; and (3) knowledge of the individuals residing or working within their patrol areas proved challenging to patrol personnel.

Need assessments should become part of your administrative guidelines. If a need assessment revises your original enforcement program, you may have to reevaluate your resources. If the need assessment reveals no problem or that the problem is not great, then this enforcement program may not be appropriate at this time. However, it is strongly recommended that periodic assessments be made as warranted.

Policy Statements/Guidelines

Next, review your agency's policy and procedures manual to determine how this program would be best conducted. Guidelines should be developed to include: the purpose of the program; goals and objectives; steps for implementation; operational guidelines (consistent with existing agency policies); and the methods to be used for collecting and evaluating data.

The policy will guide the agency toward achieving its goals and achieving overall success in the program. Any departmental policy should be based on the views of all agency managers, input from community leaders, and mandates of the law. In this way, the general public, departmental personnel, and other key players are informed about the purpose and direction of the program.

In Salt Lake County, division commanders in high crime areas were concerned that regular patrol functions would be compromised while the deputies searched for repeat offenders. However, once the hot sheet program was implemented, their concern was unfounded. Patrol officers generally knew the people in their assigned areas, and when they saw someone whose name was on the hot sheet, they took appropriate action.

Several deputies stated they were surprised to find that some of the people they normally dealt with on a daily basis were on the list.

Goals and Objectives

While the objectives of the hot sheet program are broad (viz., to establish community awareness and support and raise the level of alertness among patrol officers), the goals should be narrow, well defined, realistic, and quantifiable. It is best to either set long range goals (e.g., to reduce the number of incidents of multiple operation after suspension or revocation by 10 percent over a year) or short range goals (e.g., to increase the arrests for multiple operation after revocation or suspension by 10 percent a month). Whatever original goals are established, allow them to mature before developing or broadening objectives aimed at achieving any future or expanded goals.

Resource Needs

Personnel

One advantage of this program is that personnel resource needs are minimal. Most agencies can incorporate this program into their enforcement effort with one person designated as coordinator. This eliminates the need for full time positions. The coordinator's initial duties require the time to set up and start the program. Once the program is running, the primary duties will involve updating and distributing the "Hot Sheet." If additional tasks are required for the program (e.g., statistics on arrest data, etc.), manpower allocation should be reconsidered. The flexibility of the program makes it very "user friendly."

Equipment

Examples of computer hardware needed to manage this program are:

  • a Pentinum I or II hard drive with a 166-233MHz CPU.
  • a monitor, 28.8-56.8 BPS modem, a fax, and
  • 4x-12x CD ROM.
  • a laser printer and copy machine.

The degree and extent of software programs are unlimited. Salt Lake County used Paradox as their database program. With Paradox they were able to import data from the State's Driver License Division (DLD) and sort the information by patrol areas. Further sorting enabled Salt Lake County to target those drivers with multiple suspensions for impaired driving, which was a unique twist to their enforcement program. This capability was available because the DLD had a program feature that allowed them to track the number of times an individual had been suspended. DLD also had codes set up in their program which broke down the suspended or revoked data into small geographic areas in the county. If DLD did not have this capability, Salt Lake County was prepared to sort the data by zip code to obtain area specific lists.

Like private industry, law enforcement can take advantage of the vast variety of software programs available to assist them in managing their daily operations. Therefore, any hardware or software purchased for this program could be used to perform collateral administrative or program tasks.

Training

Training needs are minimal. Roll-call briefings are sufficient to familiarize the officers on how to most effectively use the hot sheets, to clarify expectations, to identify how to report arrests, and to provide feedback on success of program.

Training for the coordinator is unnecessary. However, the "Hot Sheet Program" should be coordinated by a person who has an interest in solving the problem, has good communication skills, and has organizational capability. Good communication skills will help the coordinator incorporate program activities and objectives with the state DMV/DLD and the judiciary. Minimum computer skills will enhance the operation of the program and ease the dialogue between DLD and your agency. Some street experience is necessary to help establish an effective enforcement program for patrol personnel.

Salt Lake County recommends establishing a good rapport with DMV/DLD, but limiting your contacts to insure a smoothly run program; establishing your "Hot Sheet" criteria prior to any meetings to save time; and having DLD provide raw data only to incorporate into your database. This will not tie up DLD personnel or equipment. Using your database will allow processing of the data to suit your needs. If the program shows a high success rate, other administrative licensing agencies in your state (hearing boards, review boards, etc.) may want to become more involved and helpful in sorting data based on the enforcement criteria selected. This is a win-win situation for these agencies in the eyes of the public and other governmental administrators.

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