Friendly warning

Village of Skaneateles police officers now have a new traffic enforcement tool in their possession - courtesy traffic tickets.

"Some people take offense to being lectured by a police officer, and this is a friendlier way to issue a warning," Village Police Chief H. Lloyd Perkins told the village board at its June 9 meeting. "It's a very positive approach; people like it."

The new tickets are similar in concept to the village's courtesy parking envelopes, but not the same format, specifically they will not ask for a monetary donation as do the parking envelopes.

The courtesy traffic tickets are not a court summons or the assignment of a fine, but are instead a stated "courtesy warning to request your assistance to observe the laws." The issuance of the new courtesy tickets in lieu of regular disciplinary tickets will be at each officer's discretion.

This is a technique Perkins previously used in the Camillus Police Department. The Skaneateles police began using the new courtesy ticket system on Monday, June 13.

The laptop computers within each village police cruiser were loaded with the courtesy ticket form the weekend of June 10. The program requires only that the officer input the violators name and information and then sign the printed form before handing it out, Perkins said.

The system will not keep a database of names or information, which some people could construe as a violation of personal privacy, the chief said. "We're a small enough department that the officers all talk to each other and we'll know who the repeat offenders are," he said.

The courtesy ticketing will be a year-round approach for the village police, not a summer-only program.

"This is just another option the officers have at their discretion - the goal is to correct behavior," Perkins said. "Most times all it takes is a friendly reminder."

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