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How officials are trying to get new court records system out of 'limbo'
Clerks, officers working to resolve communications problems between courthouse, law enforcement

Though there are still kinks to work through, Hall County courthouse and sheriff’s office officials are hopeful about more seamless cooperation between their two records management systems.

Roughly two dozen Hall County employees gathered Wednesday, Nov. 28, to work on improving the compatibility of the two new records management systems.

“People are beginning to understand each other’s needs, and we’re going to continue as they implement it to meet in smaller groups, converse, study and work toward the goals we need to accomplish,” court administrator Reggie Forrester said.

The courthouse uses the Comprehensive Justice Information System, which relied on input from the sheriff’s office staff particularly on jail and arrest information.

The sheriff’s office moved to a new records management system and jail management system from Superion earlier this month.

“We used to all be on one system. Now that it’s separate, we’re just having a hard time figuring out where to get the information,” said chief magistrate clerk Nicole Dunn.

The crucial information Magistrate Court officials need includes the names of arrestees and what charges they face. Dunn said clerks are still getting the information, but they are having to learn how to navigate the new system.

“Once we learn how to do it and learn how to navigate it, it’s not going to be an issue,” she said.

Michelle Meeks, who supervises the Hall County Clerk of Courts’ criminal division, said the clerks do not currently have access to the new system.

Clerk of Courts Charles Baker said the office submitted a list of items they needed on their end to function, which included offender tracking numbers and booking/release dates for the Georgia Department of Corrections.

“Once a case closes, we have to report the disposition to Georgia Crime Information Center. At this time, we’re not struggling at the moment, because the ones that are being sentenced now we still have access to those. But when they switched over to the new system, if somebody was arrested after that date, we don’t have access to their background as far as their offender tracking number for GCIC,” Meeks said.

The clerks are also having trouble knowing which warrants are active and which have been closed out.

“We’re just in limbo right now with two different systems,” Meeks said.

The system in place for the sheriff’s office is the same that Gainesville Police put in place several years ago.

“Everyone is in the process of learning the new system, and this will be an ongoing process with additional meetings to follow,” Sheriff’s Office Lt. Scott Ware wrote in an email.

Baker said the clerks should soon be getting access to the new system.

“We think that we’re going to be able to learn enough about the new system as time goes on so that we can interact together at about a level that’s at least acceptable so we can run and they can run,” Forrester said.

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