It's being called the biggest digital transformation of a
municipal court in the United States, and other cities are watching
"It is the first municipal court to go end-to-end
paperless," said Austin, Texas-based technology consultant and
project manager, Alan Teeple, in an interview with The Kansas City Star.
He said courts in other cities, including St. Louis and Memphis, Tenn.,
are keeping an eye on Kansas City, Mo.
Kansas City's new paperless court system was set to go live
August 29, according to The Star, and it is a radical departure from the
municipal court's 40-year-old law enforcement and records system it
The old system relied on an ancient IBM mainframe, an extinct
computer language, and a mountain of paper records, The Star said.
Presiding Municipal Judge Katherine Emke said the court was drowning in
a sea of 1.5 million active paper files. Each year brought a deluge of
320,000 tickets and 30,000 phone calls every month.
According to The Star, paper records were strewn throughout the
building, and data entry clerks made mistakes. It often took an hour or
more to pull just one person's file. Tickets, which were kept in
giant rotational filing machines, would get stuck together or lost. If
the machines broke, The Star said, only one 79-year-old maintenance
person in the city knew how to repair them.
The new, digital system includes three components, says The Star:
e-ticketing for all traffic and municipal violations; a regional
database to share offenders' criminal histories throughout the
metro area; and a new court case management system.
The project has a price tag of nearly $6 million, including
consulting fees, new software, and 600 handheld computers and
mini-printers, and was derived from court fees, a public safety sales
tax, and other technology funds.
In return, city officials say they expect the system to save the
court $1 million annually in reduced staffing, paper, and other
operation costs. Other improvements include:
* Easier, faster access to court records for lawyers, who say it
will help them represent their clients better
* Improvements in court scheduling and efficiency, reducing
crowding and waiting
* An interactive website that allows people to pay fines, check
court dates, or request a continuance online