Municipal Court Streamlines Citation Processing

Article excerpt

Oklahoma City's Department of Court Administration is the first municipal court system to install a computer assisted microfilm system to handle citations, saving the city about $50,000 annually in the collection of fines.

"The new computer microfilm makes it easier to retrieve citations via a computer index and interfaced automated retrieval micro-image terminals," said Mary Hill, acting director of the department.

"If a person calls to find out what action was taken on his citation . . . we can give him an answer much quicker than pulling it from the stacks," she said.

Citations are costly to manage because they have to be retrieved and presented to the judge each time a case goes to court, Hill said. The five Oklahoma City judges view about 500 citations daily, she said.

Oklahoma City issues about 300,000 citations a year, generating an income of $7.2 million, Hill said. More than half of that comes from traffic and parking violations, she said.

Since installing the system, increased productivity has enabled the department to eliminate two full-time clerks who pulled and filed citations. It now takes less than an hour to film the daily workload of about 1,000 citations.

Department staff members are working on filming the huge backlog of citations written before the system was installed by Kodak, Hill said. The department leases the system for $55,000 annually to cover the value of the equipment, maintenance and service.

By storing citations on microfilm, the department has created new space where shelves of paper citations once cluttered the department's 700 Couch Drive offices, Hill said.

Citations for parking and traffic violations, littering, misdemeanor assault and battery and other violations of city ordinances are filmed on a Kodak Reliant intelligent microfilmer 2000 equipped with a Reliant Bar Code Scanner. The scanner sends bar code and image address data to the system database, which creates an automatic index of all microfilm documents and identifies each document case number.

Automatic indexing increases productivity by eliminating the time consuming and often error-prone process of having an operator key a microfilm image location for each document, she said. …