Pulaski County Officials Urge Switch in Court Software

Pulaski County may finally be switching its court software, to bring it in line with much of the rest of the state. Superior Court Judge Crystal Brucker Kocher, Prosecutor Dan Murphy, and Circuit Court Judge Candidate Mary Welker met with the county council and commissioners earlier this month, urging them to make the switch from CSI to Odyssey.

Odyssey is the system used by the Indiana Supreme Court, and while the state may not explicitly be requiring the change, Welker says it’s becoming more difficult to use CSI. “I mean, they’re building everything on that Odyssey platform,” she said, “and if we’re not on that platform, it’s going to wind up costing us money, and it’s going to wind up costing us personnel hours because we have to type stuff in independently that would already be in the Odyssey platform.” Kocher listed several registries and databases that would be able to pull information directly from Odyssey, saving county employees the work of entering it in.

Beyond that, Kocher said the state no longer allows her to sign documents electronically with CSI, due to perceived security concerns. “Every small claims, every criminal case, every divorce, everything comes through and it sits on my desk. And they have printed those off so that I can look at it,” she explained. “And then I have to go into the system and I have to look up that record to see everything that’s happened previous. And then I have to sign off on it, hand it back to them. They then take the time to re-scan all of those things back in and then send it out to everyone.” Murphy reported similar challenges in the Prosecutor’s Office.

The state would cover the cost of the Odyssey software, saving the county the $25,000 a year it pays for CSI. The problem is that Odyssey would likely require various offices to upgrade computers, printers, and other hardware. Kocher said that every county that’s made the switch so far has gotten a grant to help with that cost, but she couldn’t guarantee that money would stay available.

Additionally, she said that Clerk Christi Hoffa, whose office would see some of the biggest effects of the change, has been hesitant to switch systems. Kocher said Hoffa is happy with CSI and would hate to lose it.

The council and commissioners generally agreed that the change would be a good idea, but before approving it, the commissioners wanted to know exactly how much it would cost if the county doesn’t get the grant. Kocher noted that if the switch is approved, it won’t be fully completed until 2020.