The Sheriff's Office, along with other county agencies, faced the significant challenge this year of reducing costs while maintaining a consistent level of service. Despite budget reductions, the office was able to complete and make significant progress on several major initiatives.
The construction phase of the 2005 SPLOST-funded jail expansion project was completed in 2010. During 2011, the old intake area was renovated and converted into a mental health housing unit. This will relieve overcrowding in the infirmary, which is the result of an increase of inmates suffering from serious mental health issues.
The Sheriff's Office has worked closely with the courts and Property Management this year on the design for the renovation of the old Superior Court Building into space for Juvenile Court. Construction is scheduled to begin the first quarter of 2012. Relocating Juvenile Court to the downtown Justice Complex will provide many operational benefits as well as logistical and security challenges. Like the new Superior Court Building, the Juvenile Court will include state-of-the-art security components designed to ensure that judicial functions can occur in a safe and efficient manner.
One of the most significant projects completed by the Sheriff's Office in 2011 is the culmination of a multi-year effort to replace the Jail Information Management System. The system manages data related to every aspect of housing the county’s 2,500-inmate population as well as maintaining required records for the more than 38,000 inmates booked into the jail every year. The new application replaces a system that was more than 20 years old and provides a significantly greater capability to automate record keeping and improve efficiency.
The District Attorney’s Office in partnership with the Clerk of Superior Court, Cobb Police and Cobb Information Services, continues to improve upon Cobb’s E-Subpoena Program. Since 2008, Cobb police officers have received subpoenas via electronic service, expediting the delivery of service of subpoenas to officers to appear in court. This year, the Solicitor’s Office, State Court, Magistrate Court and Juvenile Court joined the E-Subpoena Team to bring their agencies into the process. The future of E-Subpoena will hopefully include all Cobb criminal courts and all police jurisdictions sending and receiving electronic subpoenas to officers.
The District Attorney’s Office now has access to the Video Oversight application. With this, prosecutors can view videos of suspects and victims recorded during Crimes Against Persons investigations from their offices.
In Magistrate Court, attorneys can now view their clients’ arrest warrants via the Web instead of coming into the court to obtain a copy.
The past year was a very productive one in Probate Court. It has made significant strides in making records available electronically back to the beginning of the current administration in 2008. We continue to work to make all historical records available at http://documents.cobbcounty.org/probatecourtinquiry/. We are also preparing to roll out the new and improved Weapons Carry Permit that will provide permit holders with heightened security and protections beginning January 2012.
Probate Court now has case-related documents available to attorneys via the Web. They may look up the following documents for Probate Court: all estate documents, guardianship summaries and other items such as oaths and certifications. This eliminates the need to go to the Probate Court in person to obtain this information.
Clerk of Superior Court staff is making great strides on e-filing of real estate documents and upgrades to real estate computer system for faster, user-friendly access. Court functions are in the new courthouse and evidence security is a major accomplishment in 2011.
The Victim Witness Unit continues to become more efficient in notifying victims and witnesses of the court process and court dates through enhancements to the process. Also, the unit has incorporated the use of a new documentation storage process, thus basically creating a paperless and electronic case management environment, resulting in quicker retrieval of victim and witness information. This will improve response times to call for assistance and information.