Courthouse documents going digital

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 17, 2002

NATCHEZ &045; This week, the Adams County Courthouse is venturing further into the computer age, and Deputy Circuit Clerk Marjorie Alexander couldn’t be happier.

&uot;We’ve been waiting for this, and we’re looking forward to it,&uot; Alexander said.

Alexander was referring to a new computer system and software being installed this week at the Adams County Courthouse, a system she said will also aid employees in keeping track of records.

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Representatives of Delta Computers are there this week installing software that will be used to image and index courthouse documents and training employees in how to use the system.

The system will be used in the Circuit and Chancery clerks’ offices and the Tax Assessor’s and Tax Collector’s offices as well as the county’s bookkeeping offices.

The new system, said county officials, will save both employees and the public time in accessing documents, will help employees keep track of records and save storage space.

Software, training and equipment, including computers and scanners, cost $160,000, and Vines said it took two years to take the system from planning to reality.

&uot;Mr. Vines really pioneered this,&uot; said Delta web developer Alex Griffith.

&uot;And Mr. O’Beirne was also behind this and helped with the funding,&uot; said Raquel Rose, one of several Delta representatives at the courthouse this week, referring to Chancery Clerk Tommy O’Beirne.

As soon as software is installed and training is complete, the offices will begin scanning new documents into the system. Then, as time allows, they will scan past documents, with the most recent ones scanned first.

There will be many advantages to the computerized system, county officials said.

For a small fee, documents at the Circuit Clerk’s Office could be available to online, bringing in revenue for the county, said Circuit Clerk M.L. &uot;Binkey&uot; Vines.

In addition, an online system could be used by law enforcement to check on whether indictments had been handed down for a person they have in custody &045; particularly handy after business hours, Vines said.

Although that particular feature and such sensitive documents as Youth Court records will not be available to the general public, other documents should be online next year.

&uot;I’m pushing for that to be available in June,&uot; Vines said. &uot;I want to get all the bugs out first.&uot;

At the Chancery Clerk’s Office, documents will be scanned started Jan. 1.

With three new public-access computers, &uot;the public will be able to pull up documents as well as indexing, and (the equipment) will have instructions showing them how to use it,&uot; O’Beirne said. &uot;It will be more efficient Š and more user-friendly.&uot;

Tax Assessor Reynolds Atkins said his employees will save time because they will able to pull up documents on a computer instead of retrieving them from the Chancery Clerk’s Office at the other end of the courthouse.

&uot;Eventually, it will cut down on the paper trail, because you’ll be able to pull a document up and print it right off the computer,&uot; said Tax Collector Verona Sanders. &uot;It’ll be a space saver.&uot;