Program will quickly give information to police

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By Veronica Robinson

Owen County law enforcement will now have the ability to search for warrants right at their fingertips.
Attorney General Jack Conway recently announced the successful implementation of an electronic warrant management system in the 15th judicial circuit, which includes Owen, Carroll and Grant counties.
The Attorney General’s Office funded implementation of the system in the 15th judicial circuit under a $3.9 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant awarded to the office of the attorney general in 2009.
Kentucky now has 101 counties utilizing the eWarrants system.
According to a press release from the Attorney General’s office, the eWarrant system facilitates the sharing of information among all law enforcement concerning active warrants in jurisdictions throughout Kentucky.
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. More than 542,000 warrants/summons have been entered into the eWarrant system.
Owen County Circuit Clerk Leigh New said that within 10 minutes of a warrant being issued by a judge, the information is out to law enforcement.
“Before we would have to wait till the judge signed the warrant and it just took more time,” New said. “Now after we go into our system and enter a warrant, the judge can access them from his computer or phone, push a button and all of the warrants are signed.”
Kentucky’s eWarrant system began as a pilot project in 2005 to address a backlog of nearly 300,000 unserved warrants in the state.
The grant was awarded from the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, under the category for Facilitating Rural Justice Information Sharing.
“Once the judge signs it on the computer or phone, it goes directly into law enforcement computers,” New said. “It’s the time that’s really going to improve. Before they would have to call dispatch and dispatch would have to call sheriff’s offices, and now they don’t have to do all that.”