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Indiana police digitally transform the search warrant process

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Marion County Superior Court in Indiana wanted to speed and streamline the search warrant process. By digitally transforming systems, the county could handle its annual 4,000 warrants better by reacting faster and more accurately.

Working with BerkOne and using Kofax software, Marion County deployed an electronic warrants system to request and receive approval for search warrants digitally from their vehicles’ computers.

Amitav Thamba, chief technology officer at Marion Superior Court, explains, “In the past, officers had to physically track down a judge who could review and grant the warrant request. This typically involved traveling to our central Arrestee Processing Center (APC) to connect with a judge. If an officer was at the outer limits of the city, it could take almost half an hour just to reach the APC, possibly even longer depending on traffic conditions. Then the officer still needed to communicate with the judge, get the warrant signed and printed, and return to the scene to serve the document. We recognized the value in replacing this labor-intensive, time-consuming process with an economical and user-friendly digital option.”

With Marion County’s 24/7 electronic warrant request and approval processing system, document content and accompanying attachments are sent securely and imported into a central repository, according to Kofax. The submission page is automatically separated from the warrant to alleviate privacy concerns. The system then extracts key information such as the submitting officer’s name, and the date and time of the submission, before entering the item into a review queue. Clerks and judges are automatically notified via email when a new warrant is awaiting their review. If a submission in a clerk’s queue is not processed within 10 minutes of receipt, the clerk receives another email alert. Similarly, judges are given 25 minutes to review and approve or deny a warrant. Once that time has elapsed, the job is automatically assigned to a secondary judge, who is notified by email and given 10 minutes to complete the review.

In Marion County, the new electronic warrants system has reduced approval time from hours to an average of 18 minutes, Kofax reports. Paperwork is dramatically reduced, and officers are kept updated throughout the process, which allows them to minimize time off the beat performing administrative tasks. Additionally, Marion County expects its new approach to significantly improve overall visibility and control of search warrant processing.

Thamba says, “Kofax technology is helping us to shape a more streamlined approach to warrant processing. It’s a digital transformation that could be a model for any police agency in the country, ensuring our law enforcement teams and judicial officers are empowered and working at peak efficiency to maintain public safety.”

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