MANSFIELD -- A new online case management system that integrates law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, courts and defense attorneys into one comprehensive system was demonstrated to Richland County commissioners Thursday.
The system would streamline the local criminal justice system, creating efficiencies in all areas, according to Joe Whang, co-founder and CEO of Matrix Point Software.
Richland County Prosecutor Gary Bishop and First Assistant Jodie Schumacher, who used the Matrix system while working in another county before coming to Mansfield, attended the hour-long session and advocated for the new system.
It would replace a DOS-based system designed 25 to 30 years ago that provides no case management integration among the agencies involved in a criminal case.
Whang said his company's software was first utilized in Cuyahoga County in 2008 and is being used, or in the process of being implemented, in 40 counties around Ohio, including Ashland.
Under the current system, officers must prepare written documents and must travel in person to the prosecutor's office to deliver them and begin the casework.
With the Matrix system, for example, a law enforcement officer use a web-based portal to enter information about a new case, including documents and other files.
The prosecutor's office would be alerted in the system and could then begin the process of gathering information and creating the legal documents necessary for grand jury presentation and indictment.
Defense attorneys could also access any cases assigned to them and obtain required discovery and other case information.
The company promises increased productivity, decreasing operating cost and accelerating the timely disposition of justice.
Medina County Prosecutor S. Forrest Thompson, who took office in 2017, also attended Thursday's meeting. He said his office, which had used the same system now being used in Richland County went to Matrix.
Initial "pushback" from some law enforcement officers was quickly overcome and officers now welcome the system, Thompson said.
"My staff loves it," he said, pointing out out the efficiencies gained and also estimated a 40 percent reduction in the amount of paper records being generated.
Bishop told commissioners that the paperwork in a case he tried last week would not fit in a file and actually filled a box. "That's one case," he said.
Commissioners made no decision on the system, which would have an implementation fee and monthly bill.
Commissioner Marilyn John, who has worked with the prosecutor's office on the proposal, said she would continue to help locate funding for the project.
Commissioners will discuss the potential project again in the next week or two, John said.