Magistrate Court Judge James Drane said installing an electronic warrant system was a goal he set last year and may be realized soon.
"Grant funding for this project has been approved and secured. Final IT issues are being resolved and implementation should begin in 2010," he said.
The system would allow law enforcement officers from a laptop computer in their patrol car or at their precinct to communicate with a judge to obtain both search and arrest warrants.
Drane said the system would keep officers in their patrol area rather than on the road to and from the court at the Justice Center in downtown Canton.
"As an example, if you're an officer in the Bells Ferry area, and you have a warrant that needs to be signed, currently you have to make a trip to the courthouse, find a judge, make copies and then make a return trip back to your precinct," Drane said. "The electronic warrant project will save the officer at least a 20-minute ride to and from the courthouse."
Capt. Bert Love of the Cherokee Sheriff's Office Intelligence Division said the new system would benefit law enforcement agencies in many ways.
"This will lower costs associated with gasoline and vehicle maintenance, lower overtime costs and will afford the opportunity to have more officers on the streets performing patrol functions," he said.
Drane said the court also is updating its case management system this year.
The new system will allow for a better exchange of information between the various courts in the county and the clerk's office.
"Once a warrant is issued, we can just transfer the information to Superior Court once there is an indictment instead of retyping al the information," county Clerk of Courts Patty Baker said of the new system. "It is going to save time."
Drane said he also is focused on providing the highest possible service to the county despite a reduced budget and increasing caseload.
There were 31,038 items requiring a hearing or opinion addressed by the court last year, and Drane expects that number to increase.
Drane said the court's accomplishments in the past year include helping the state, juvenile and probate courts with their caseloads instead of having the county spend money on bringing in judges from other counties.
The court also redesigned in-house court forms and began closing files that had accumulated over a number of years, allowing the court to move the files from its office and into storage, which conserves office space.
The court also came to an agreement with the Ninth District Judicial Office and Forsyth Magistrate Court to eliminate any cost with cases involving the recusal of a judge.
Under the agreement, Cherokee will forward recusal cases to Forsyth County, and vice versa, at no cost to either county government.