BLOOMINGTON — The county's electronic records management system, which currently contains nearly a million documents, is long overdue for an upgrade or replacement, court administrator Will Scanlon told the County Board's justice committee Tuesday.
County offices began using the Integrated Justice Information System (IJIS) in 1995 after the unique model was developed to address rising personnel costs and create an efficient system for information sharing.
The system, now known as the Electronic Justice System (EJS), contains records from 33 county agencies with 778 active users. Users within the criminal and civil justice system file more than 28,000 traffic citations, 1,500 misdemeanor cases, 1,200 felony cases and about 8,000 civil cases, according to Scanlon's report to the committee.
The system currently contains more than 863,000 records; about 40,000 police reports are filed annually.
But the system has become outdated and unable to handle the growing needs of the county, said Scanlon.
The one-of-a-kind network does not have the capacity to handle electronic court filings mandated by the Illinois Supreme Court. The McLean County Circuit Clerk's Office began electronic filings for civil cases in 2018 and will be required to handle criminal and juvenile cases in 2020.
The 20-year-old system lacks vendor support and an adequate financial system, said the report.
The county is seeking recommendations on possible ways to upgrade or replace the system, said Scanlon.
"What that replacement is, is unknown to us," said Scanlon.
Judge Rebecca Foley told the committee the updated network benefits more than agencies within the county's borders.
"Ultimately the system also is a benefit to the public," said Foley, pointing to the records management system used by law enforcement and data collection capabilities for problem-solving courts and the McLean County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.
The cost of the EJS review is unknown until proposals are submitted but the fees will be paid from the courts automation fund. An overhaul or replacement of the system could cost several million dollars, according to previous estimates given to the County Board.
A new version of EJS also will handle behavioral health records that could be shared by providers with jail staff who provide mental health care to mentally ill inmates, many of them arriving with existing prescriptions.
The study is expected to take four to six months, with a proposal ready for consideration near the end of 2020, said the court administrator. The work to install a new system could take between 18 and 30 months.
The new electronic records system could serve the county for another two decades, Scalon told the committee.