Law Enforcement Technology

MAR 2017

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Page 36 of 45 MARCH 2017 LAW ENFORCEMENT TECHNOLOGY 35 TA L K IN G P O IN T S ADVANCEMENTS IN TECH Tim Wacker Tim Wacker is a technical writer for NBN Communications. He can be reached at Tim.Wacker@ M arathon County in Wisconsin is sav- ing $100,000 annually and eliminat- ing costly lawsuits by replacing an older, paper-based system for creating and maintaining arrest warrants with electronic document management software. Under the previous system, county judges would authorize a paper warrant, which would be sent via interoffice mail from the court clerk to the Marathon Sheriff 's Department. Once received, department staff would affix a label with the subject's name and date of birth to a manila folder and place the warrant inside. Any additional notes were kept on a green cover sheet attached to the folder. The sheriff 's office then printed all of the supporting documentation for the war- rant and forwarded the folder to validation officers tasked with verifying that the warrant was complete and ready for execution. In the event of a warrant cancellation, a sheriff 's department employee would com- plete the necessary information on the green Automation Software Speeds Warrants, Stops False Arrests cover sheet and place the documents into yet another folder, which the officer would then place in the canceled warrants filing cabinet. Occasionally, certain additional paperwork needed to be faxed to the jail and/or filled out and sent to the court clerk. This paper-based system resulted in inherent delays in the time between a judge approving a warrant and it being issued to officers in the field. It also produced delays between a warrant's satisfaction, such as through the payment of a fine, and the warrant being officially canceled. Some criminals stayed on the street longer than they should have while others were wrong- fully arrested when the warrants had been satisfied, according to Tony Nardi, the department's supervisor of dispatch. As the paper piled up, so did the delays. So Nardi sought assistance from the City-County Information Technology Commission. The commission recommended business process automation software to reduce the paper and the work involved in processing and maintaining county arrest warrants. The perks of automation The software starts with the commission's Laserfiche electronic records management system. After turning the paper-based records into electronic images, various software modules within the system make the information within those records more readily available. More importantly, the soft- ware can also distribute that information as needed according to rules the commission set up with assistance from Laserfiche resell- er Cities Digital, which serves the upper Midwest region. Now, after a judge authorizes a warrant, the documents involved are sent as elec- tronic images via a secure internet portal directly to the clerk of courts where they Marathon County in Wisconsin is saving thousands of dollars annually with electronic document management software.

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