BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — The Maumee Municipal Court is moving closer to going paperless thanks to a grant from the Ohio Supreme Court.
Justice Judith French personally delivered the $62,430 grant check to the Maumee court on May 15. The money will be used to fund Norris computer software, which will enable the court to implement a new case management system.
“This is a happy day for me,” French said. “What I love about this program is that it is all about updating our local courts. It’s not about the Ohio Supreme Court saying to local communities, ‘This is what we want you to do and this is how much it’s going to cost.’”
The new case management program will enable the Maumee court to receive electronic data through the e-ticketing or electronic ticketing system, which many police departments have already begun using. With e-ticketing, an officer no longer hand-writes a ticket. Instead, the information is electronically scanned from a violator’s driver’s license. Once the information has been entered, a ticket will print in the patrol vehicle for the offender to sign.
The Maumee department plans to implement it later this year.
“Congratulations to Mayor Carr and Judge Hazard for having the foresight to determine that these are upgrades you need that we can help you accomplish,” she said.
Justice Maureen O’Connor started the Ohio Supreme Court grant initiative five years ago for the purpose of upgrading technology and access to the courts across Ohio, French said. Since its inception, over $14 million has been awarded through the grant program, which is funded through the court budget. This year, $2.9 million has been awarded to over 47 projects across the state.
“That is a lot of updating and a lot of efficiencies,” said French.
This is the first year the Maumee court has applied for the grant. Maumee Mayor Richard Carr says it is important to strengthen the relationship between the city and the court.
“This shows our residents that we are doing everything we can to provide the best possible justice system at the lowest possible cost to our residents – so this means a lot to Maumee,” said Carr.
Maumee Municipal Court Judge Dan Hazard said that the impetus in applying for the grant is to implement e-ticketing, but the new software will also allow the Maumee court to work more closely with the county sheriff’s department, which is already using the computer system.
“This will allow us to share resources with them,” Hazard said. “It is my hope that this is the first step we are taking to being a paperless court. It might take us a while to get there, but that’s the goal.”
Following the check presentation, the mayor and the judge presented French with an official city of Maumee flag.