Making the Transition From Paper to Tech

April 20, 2021 by Devin Culham

Making the Transition From Paper to Tech

Nearly every agency would like to streamline its operations to make them less manual. But sometimes it's easier said than done.

Whether its securing budget or getting the buy-in from decision-makers, overhauling ‘functional’ systems into systems with finesse isn’t always a linear process.

“I’ve been here 18 years and probably about 15 years ago or more, I had actually made a lot of noise that a new technology system should be a priority,” said Mike Coty, marshal for the State of Maine Judicial Branch (MJB).

Although Coty saw the need to update the MJB’s technology early on, he still had to navigate several obstacles.

“It took a long time to get the funding,” Coty recalled. “We started with a grant for the first system, and the vendor did not deliver the system in a matter that could be usable. It was like giving you a Cadillac, but they didn’t put an engine in it.”

In the meantime, the MJB’s Office of Judicial Marshals had to continue its operations manually.

“Everything was done manually,” said Coty. “The officers would type the incident report up in a Word document. They would then send that to my administrative assistant and to me.”

After Coty and his administrative assistant reviewed the incident for mistakes, the administrative assistant would print the report and put it in a file.

Although this paper file system was functional in its approach, there were a few shortcomings. Particularly with data-sharing.

“I think the positives of the new system are that when we put a name in the person’s file, when we add someone to the system, that can be searched at any court location by any officer,” Coty shared.

Instant access to information is important, especially when you are an agency representing 32 court locations across the state of Maine.

“It’s huge because Maine is a very transient state,” said Coty.

But real-time data-sharing isn’t the only benefit of the new technology system; attaching files help add context to a file.

“The other thing that I think is helpful is that we scan documents, videos, and photos to a case,” said Coty. “So, all of that has been a big plus for us.”

For Coty, the onboarding of IT Project Manager Barry Lucier is when change really began to take place for MJB.

“Before Barry, they were going to try to create a system in-house and that just never materialized,” Coty recalled. “And then Barry came on and said he was going to make this happen. And I still owe him dinner for that because he made it happen before I retired.”

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