"The demonstrations and the rhetoric are certainly impressive; the true test lies in seeing the extent to which real tasks are made easier and more effective for real people in the real world."
Today, the company announced the implementation of their Active Warrant Alert System in Lee County, Florida, and I spoke with Sheila Mann, Court Operations Officer with the Twentieth Judicial Circuit of Florida, to hear her impressions.
The company's Active Warrant Alert System
"[identifies] defendants appearing before the court who have open local, Florida, out-of-state or federal warrants, enabling court and law enforcement personnel to take appropriate action. Within the first seven days of implementation in Lee County, the Metatomix system identified 141 warrants that led to 16 arrests."
I also understand that the system has been implemented here specifically because of a tragic case in which a police officer was allegedly shot and killed by a fugitive with an unknown warrant.
"The Active Warrant Alert System is an extension of the Metatomix technology which also powers the Judicial Inquiry System (JIS) and First Appearance Calendar, statewide solutions that query and deliver correlated results from 13 state and national data sources empowering criminal justice personnel with real-time information."
"Lee County, with a population of over 400,000, is the first county in Florida to integrate the Active Warrant Alert System, which flags warrants for any subject appearing for court events such as arraignment, pretrial, bond, motion, case management or traffic hearings. The technology provides court officials with access to warrant information from sheriff's departments and attorney's offices across local, state and national information systems. Previously, bailiffs were required to log in to numerous computer systems to acquire information on a subject's criminal history as well as any local, Florida, out-of-state or federal warrants. "
Metatomix clearly have a satisfied customer in Sheila Mann, who told me that the system takes minutes each day to carry out local, State and Federal checks on all those expected to appear in court on a given day. Mann suggested that local checks alone used to occupy two Court staff every day. The system also has the intelligence to avoid issuing 'Failure to Appear' notices for witnesses and suspects known by other parts of the judicial system to be in custody; and therefore unable to appear.
The system was in trial during October and November, and went live across the County on 17 November. Mann reports that
"we haven't had any issues,"
and spoke highly of the partnership between Court and Sheriff's Department officials and the team from Metatomix.
Finally, Mann noted that neighbouring Collier County is looking to implement the same system, and she looks forward to seeing additional benefits from further exchange of data.