The city of Leavenworth could soon have new software for its municipal court records, which could in turn mean changes for those in the court system.

The city of Leavenworth could soon have new software for its municipal court records, which could in turn mean changes for those in the court system.

Debbie Gillespie, senior clerk for Leavenworth Municipal Court, said the current records system known as HTE used by her office was installed in 1999. At the time, the AS400 hardware that the system runs on was used by other entities like the Leavenworth Police Department and Leavenworth County.

“We are the only user of HTE in the Justice Center. Everybody has moved off the AS400,” Gillespie said. “It costs a lot of money to support and is an extremely outdated system.”

The AS400 would need to be replaced by the end of the year anyway, and new court software has been a project for several years listed in the city's capital improvements plan. She said switching systems now could give the city the opportunity to boost efficiency by eliminating the need to manually compile required reports and would take advantage of now-available technologies like in-court processing, standardized reporting and electronic payment options for those paying fines or fees.

“The police department is looking at digital citations,” Gillespie said. “A lot of the vendors have that citation we can use where they swipe the driver's license and the citation is issued and it just rolls into our system.”

Of the three requests for qualifications that were sent out, Gillespie said her office was recommending that of Justice Systems, a New Mexico-based firm that also provides court software for communities like Overland Park, Topeka and Salina and is tied in with the Kansas Department of Revenue's accounting system.

According to Tessa Rye, a product manager for Justice Systems, the system also has the option to allow public access to court records. She said implementation of the software could result in increased efficiency and revenue for the city's court system.

“She'll be able to enforce things that have been ordered by the court more easily, and she'll be able to keep up with who failed to appear, who failed to pay, who failed to comply,” Rye said. “Things won't fall through the cracks.”

Commissioner Davis Moulden, however, said he wanted to make sure that the system would not become obsolete in a short period of time. Rye said the system was the company's flagship product and assured the commission that the software would be supported for some time.

Moulden also asked about cost. Assistant City Manager Paul Kramer said that would be determined as a result of contract negotiations, should the commission agree to proceed with Justice Systems.

“In the CIP it's budgeted for $150,000,” he said. “We believe it's going to be coming in well below that.”

Pressed by Moulden, Rye agreed. The three commissioners present, though they could not take official action in the study session, agreed to allow staff to proceed with negotiations with Justice Systems.