Hear from the team at the 61st District Court in Grand Rapids, Michigan about their experience preventing warrants with Matterhorn.
Gary P. Secor, Court Administrator
We assumed responsibility for bench warrants from the Grand Rapids Police Department just a little over three years ago. And at that time, we took on over 10,000 bench warrants. It has been my experience in reviewing our court and in other district courts in the state that at least in our court in particular we issue far too many bench warrants. There had to be a better way of doing business, because it’s not an efficient way of doing business and it’s not an efficient way of court performing in terms of expectations.
Matterhorn’s bench warrant resolution process permitted us to look at 20-25% reduction in bench warrants that we’re issuing on an annual basis.
Tanya Todd, Clerk of the Court
In this day and age, you want to move quicker, and be more efficient, and be more accessible to the public. And that was really the motivating factor, was how can we serve the public in an efficient, quick, nonthreatening way, so that everyone feels they’re getting access to justice.
Sarah Breen, Criminal Team Lead
This is giving them an option to hopefully not receive a bench warrant on their fines and fees. The individuals who are writing in to us with regards to, whether it be a traffic or criminal case, misdemeanor or felony, they’re already dealing with fines and fees and everything that comes with that. So, this not only helps us in reducing the amount of paperwork and procedures that come along with issuing bench warrants, but it’s giving them somewhat of a break to, hopefully, continue to follow through with their obligations that were already set for all of these tickets and cases.
Steve Brunink, Magistrate
One of the concerns that I had was that this is going to take more time, if you will, than if we just had a hearing. That has completely been alleviated by the nature of the program and its simplicity to navigate. It is a true benefit.
We’ve initiated a number of technology initiatives in the last six years here, and I can say that Matterhorn was probably the easiest.
I think it sends a message that we care, we’re looking for ways of how we can serve you, of how we can make it more accessible. And I think that is pretty special given that usually this is some place that people don’t want to be. So if we can forge those relationships and send those messages, I think that we’re headed in the right direction. And that’s thanks to Matterhorn.
For a court administrator, your performance is always measured. It depends, okay, if you’re dealing with your funding unit it’s dollars and cents, that’s the bottom line. If you can reduce in excess of 500 to 600 bench warrants a year, you have significant dollar savings, not only for us but for other criminal justice agencies.
I like to expand beyond dollars and cents. I like to look at…probably the most important is customer satisfaction. And I see that in the response and comment areas. I cherish those when I get the opportunity to review those.