In 2010, Riverside County Sheriff's (RCSO) officers experienced court notification problems when it came to subpoena cancellations. The issue was an ineffective process for officers to receive their court disregards. With a 4 hour mandatory overtime requirement, this was quite costly. The process also varied from station to station as to how these types of notifications were delivered. Some stations had clerks call officers; others had officers call fellow officers; and still other stations expected employees to check a website for their attendance status. If a case was still scheduled, officers might go to court only to learn that their case was cancelled. And of course, RCSO not only had to pay the mandatory overtime but also backfill the position in the field.
What Riverside County Sheriff's Office needed was a solution that could:
Since 2011, CourtNotify has enabled RCSO to streamline their subpoena processes for approximately 200 traffic subpoenas monthly and over 10,000 criminal subpoenas annually. By receiving all Criminal Court notifications electronically in real-time, RCSO has been able to ensure that court disregards are received on time and processed consistently for the 40 stations throughout the county’s 7,200 square miles.
Clerical resources previously responsible for subpoena logs and notifications at different stations have been reassigned to other duties. Only one person now spends approximately two hours daily managing subpoenas for the entire agency.
Officers receive court notices in real-time using their CourtNotify web account and agency email. Any scheduling conflicts are red-flagged. There are also tools for escalation of notices including short or last minute hearing notifications. If an officer fails to acknowledge their subpoena, his/her immediate supervisor is notified. If the supervisor does not ensure that the officer acknowledges the subpoena, the notification is escalated up the chain-of-command. As a result, accountability and court attendance has been increased.
What’s more, since the agency’s original installation 13 municipalities within the county have been able to leverage RCSO’s CourtNotify platform and are now realizing the efficiencies of receiving electronic court notifications. What began as a critical need for one agency has results in a county-wide solution for municipal law enforcement agencies.