Grant using new eWarrant system

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By Bryan Marshall

A new system will allow Grant County law enforcement to issue and arrest people on warrants quicker than ever before.

Attorney General Jack Conway recently announced the implementation of an electronic warrant management system (eWarrants) in the 15th Judicial Circuit, which includes Grant, Carroll and Owen counties.

There are now 101 Kentucky counties utilizing eWarrants, which facilitates the sharing of information among all law enforcement concerning active warrants in jurisdictions throughout the state.

It replaces the manual protocols for processing warrant information with an electronic method for making warrants available via the Law Enforcement Information Network of Kentucky (LINK), the system administered by Kentucky State Police and used by law enforcement to transmit and retrieve information on active warrants.

“The process has been sped up because everything will be electronically done,” said Grant County Sheriff Chuck Dills. “If I go to get a warrant now, I would go to the county attorney and he would draft a warrant. Then, they would have to get it to a judge to be signed and sometimes that can be a day or two. Now, the county attorney will submit the warrant electronically and the judge electronically signs it and it’s in the system immediately.”

The Attorney General’s Office funded implementation of eWarrants in the 15th Judicial Circuit under a $3.9 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant awarded in 2009.

The Office of the Attorney General, in partnership with the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), the Kentucky State Police, the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security and Open Portal Solutions, Inc., provided training and support for the new electronic warrant management system.

“We are very excited about eWarrants,” said Grant County Attorney Joe Taylor. “This new system will both increase the number of warrants and summons that get served and will virtually eliminate the redundancy issues we’ve experienced in the past where a person is arrested a second time for a warrant that has already been served.”

Service rates for warrants rise from as low as 10 percent under the old system to roughly 50 percent immediately after implementation of eWarrants, and as high as 80 percent in the long-term.

With the successful launch of eWarrants in the 15th Judicial Circuit, approximately 5,500 warrants were added to the system and are now ready to be served.

“We maintain a warrant system for the county and someone would normally have to contact our dispatch center or our office to confirm that warrant,” Dills said. “Now, it will be on a statewide database. If someone gets stopped five hours away, when they pull it up in the system, they’ll know immediately they have warrant out of Grant.”

Kentucky’s eWarrant system began as a pilot project in 2005 to address a backlog of nearly 300,000 un-served warrants in the state.

A backlog in the service of warrants, or a misplaced or lost warrant, could allow a person charged with a violent crime to evade arrest and continue to victimize Kentucky citizens.

“It will get people picked up quicker on warrants,” Dills said about eWarrants. “It’s just another method of technology helping us perform our duties quicker and easier.”