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Tuesday night, Knoxville City Council members approved, on first reading, a proposal by local police to add a $5 fee to traffic citations.

The proposal comes after Knoxville Police announced plans to move to an electronic ticking system, and the fee would allow them to pay for the technology upgrade.

"The advantage to this program, number one, is the efficiency," said KPD Chief David Rausch. "The efficiency for the officer on the side of the street being able to write [the citation] quicker, and being able to get the citation into the system."

He also sites efficiency for the offender, and safety enhancements as reasons behind the e-ticketing push. Rausch said initiating an e-ticketing program is not cheap, with an expected cost between $300,000 to $500,000. For every $5 collected, he said KPD earns $4 and the remaining $1 goes to city court.

"All that money is earmarked specifically for the e-citation program. It can't be used for anything else," he said.

Police can only collect the fee for five years, and that timeline starts as soon as a city approves the fee.

State lawmakers passed legislation this year allows local cities to pass a similar fee as department move toward e-ticketing systems.

The ordinance still needs a second approval before it goes into effect. City Council will have the opportunity to vote again at a future city council meeting.

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