by Peter Bodley
The Coon Rapids City Attorney’s Office is leading the way in the state in the electronic charging of criminal complaints.
The city has been using the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) e-charging process since August 2011 to charge the gross misdemeanor and misdemeanor criminal complaints that the office handles.
“Since that time the city has charged more complaints by e-charging than any other prosecuting agency,” said City Attorney Stoney Hiljus.
According to Hiljus, the use of e-charging has created efficiencies in the city’s public safety process and in the overall criminal justice system by reducing staff time spent processing criminal complaints and by eliminating paper routing of criminal complaints.
Now the city attorney’s office has received a grant from the BCA and entered into a joint powers agreement with the BCA, which has been approved by the Coon Rapids City Council, to install the office’s The Compleat Prosecutor Version 3.0 (TCP3) e-charging software in up to four prosecution agencies in the state.
Assistant City Attorney Doug Johnson developed the software program to allow for the charging of defendants by electronic formal complaint, Hiljus said.
The city had received a grant from the BCA in August 2010 to build the software needed for the transmission of electronic charging documents to the state court information system (MNCIS), he said.
“Other prosecution agencies wish to participate in eCharging using the software,” Hiljus said.
According to Hiljus, the BCA will reimburse the city up to $8,000 for installing the software for these prosecuting agencies.
The city will charge these agencies an additional technical fee, yet to be determined, to train them in the use of the TCP3, Hiljus said.
“Once the software is installed for these prosecution agencies, other prosecution agencies throughout the state may also be interested in the software,” he said.
“The city attorney’s office plans to use the monies collected from these agencies to upgrade and maintain the TCP software.”
Police agencies around the state are eager to embrace the technology, Hiljus said. “We are pleased to be able to provide this capability to our fellow prosecution agencies at a low cost,” he said.
Peter Bodley is at firstname.lastname@example.org