By digitizing documents and automating submission, review and approval processes, Marion County can issue search warrants in minutes. Helping law enforcement and judicial officers work more efficiently to maintain public safety.
The Marion Superior Court is the busiest county court system in the state of Indiana. The court processes more than 4,000 warrants every year. Thus enabling law enforcement officers to gather important evidence and preserve public safety.
In many cases, warrants are required on a time-sensitive basis. For example, if an officer pulls over a motorist suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) and needs to conduct a blood test. There is a short window of time during which such a test can reliably be performed, as blood alcohol concentration diminishes with the passage of time. Thus making it critical to obtain the necessary warrant quickly.
Marion County turned to BerkOne to match the County’s vision with an easy to use replacement for the paper-base warrant issuance process. The county also wanted the new process to fit into current systems — not be “another new system” to learn.
BerkOne Customizable Approach to Warrant Submissions
Marion County joined forces with BerkOne to develop an innovative electronic warrants system. Built on Kofax Enterprise Software, the system replaces paper files with digital documents and streamlines submission, review and authorization processes. In the new process, law enforcement officers complete an electronic warrant form. This form contains a submission page, the warrant itself, which get submitted via email from their vehicle’s computer. As an existing familiar system, every employee is already equipped to use email. The email content and any attachments are sent to a dedicated inbox, then imported into a central repository.
Both clerks and judges are automatically notified via email when a new warrant is awaiting their review. Each process step is monitored via a timer and alerts are sent from the Kofax server if the task is overdue. The system also sends automatic updates to the submitting officer. The officer gets notification of submission receipt, arrival in the judge’s review queue, and warrant issuance.
How we did it
To create the new system we used a combination of Kofax blended and customizable solutions. The submission page is automatically separated from the warrant for privacy reasons. The system automatically extracts key information such as the submitting officer’s name, along with the date and time of the submission, before entering the item into a review queue. The warrant request is initially reviewed by a county clerk before being sent to a judge for approval.
If a judge requires additional info to process a warrant, he or she can follow up with the submitting officer directly. Here, officers can fill out an updated submission form and submit it via email to a separate inbox dedicated solely to updates. Any new emails and attachments are automatically linked to the original submission, and the judge can complete the review using the new information.
Once a warrant has been granted, the system creates a final PDF document, comprising a cover page summarizing the submission details, submission form, the warrant itself and a return form. After serving a warrant, the officer must bring the return form to the APC to confirm that this step has been completed.
- Dramatic reduction in search warrant turnaround time from several hours to current average of 18 minutes
- Rapid issuance of warrants for evidence in time-critical situations enabled more accurate results, i.e. blood alcohol levels in suspected DUI’s
- Elimination of law enforcement travel time for warrant “wet signatures” and associated costs
- Increased law enforcement time “on the beat”
- In-process updates to submitting officers provided warrant issuance predictability
- Scheduling of warrant review duties to primary and backup judges created a more predictable work load for judges
- Mobile access allowed judges to handle cases from any location so judges no longer have to be physically present at the courthouse around the clock.
- The “all digital” electronic warrants workflow reduced the actual “paperwork” handled by court clerks
- The flexibility created by digital workflows enabled reassignment of ten court personnel to other areas
- Service level timers monitor each process step to assure overall process timeliness
- Entire warrant issuance process is now monitored, controlled and transparent to participants
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