When you think about your experience as a retail consumer, do you think about how stressful it is during the holidays? Do you picture yourself running from store to store, mall to mall, all while trying to find gifts for your family? The world of online shopping has made that a bit easier, but Amazon has made the experience revolutionary. Part of what has made Amazon so successful is that it creates an easy interface for users to find what they need at the click of a button.
Similar to our annual holiday shopping experience, finding the information you need in the world of criminal justice. Law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, attorneys, court clerks, medical examiners, bondsmen and anyone else that touches the lifecycle of a case often find themselves stuck in a process that doesn’t easily allow for sharing information across systems. TechShare’s portal strategy aims to proide these key stakeholders with a cost effective, “one-stop shop” solution through an online portal.
Let’s look at the day-in-the-life of a defense attorney, for example. He or she needs information from a variety of different business units. As we continue transitioning to a paperless environment, this information lives in systems that oftentimes don’t communicate with one another. Take a look at the chart below.
While these systems provide end users with a multitude of efficiencies throughout the lifecycle of a case, what’s the benefit (if any) to our defense attorney? In fact, let’s consider the stakeholders with access to one or more of these systems: the prosecutor, the court coordinator, and the investigator. Each of these individuals has access to information that lives in one system but can’t be easily shared with others in its current state. And, even if it can be shared, what’s the source record? Who owns it? Are we duplicating efforts?
More importantly: can we share information across business units to ensure time and cost savings as we move cases through the system?
We think there’s a better way, which is why we’re partnering with our member counties to develop role-based portals to more effectively drive business-focused results.
Let’s Take a Look: Defense Attorney Portal
Similar to our previous example, we began our portal strategy by taking a look at a criminal defense attorney’s role within the county. Without access to the portal, our defense attorney currently interacts with the prosecutor, court, indigent defense, and law enforcement independently. Now, through the defense attorney portal, the defense attorney can request access from the prosecutor to view cases, including digital multimedia evidence, jail status, docket information, and anything else that’s made discoverable to them.
How does it work?
Similar to our previous example, we began our portal strategy by taking a look the role of a defense attorney in the county. Once the attorney is assigned to a case, they request access to view it electronically through permission obtained by the prosecutor. In fact, if the defense attorney practices in multiple jurisdictions, he or she can request access to view cases across multiple counties. Once the prosecutor approves this request, the defense attorney has access to view case details, plea offers, and any evidence made discoverable to them by the prosecutor.
One of the most valuable features of the Defense Attorney Portal is quick access to play, view, and download audio/video files directly from the web browser. Just think, instead of driving to the police station to checkout disc copies of video evidence (not to mention worrying about whether or not they’ll actually play in the right format), they can scroll through evidence quickly and more efficiently than ever before.
In addition to making day-to-day duties more efficient, our solution saves counties significant time and money by building functionality once in a Portal instead of multiple times within various systems. The functionality of our Portals are constantly revised and evolving based on user experience in real world application through regular user group sessions.
Our development team has successfully deployed the Defense Attorney Portal in several counties across Texas. The same goes for the Law Enforcement Agency Portal, which has been deployed in a number of agencies throughout counties running on the TechShare.Prosecutor system.
Also on the road map is a portal for other roles that interact with the prosecutor. These include portals for the following roles:
- Court Clerks
- Medical Examiner
- Probation Officer
- Medical Examiner