Davison County court records going digitalCounty clerk’s office makes switch to new system.
By: Chris Mueller, The Daily Republic
The Davison County Clerk of Court’s Office switched to a digital record-keeping system Monday.
Davison County, along with 13 other counties in the First Judicial Circuit and 14 counties in the Sixth Circuit, are using a new system, known as Odyssey, to file and store all manner of court-related records as part of an $11 million statewide conversion from an older, outdated computer system.
John Kayser, applications maintenance manager for the South Dakota Unified Judicial System, was at the Davison County Courthouse Monday to track and fix any problems with the switch.
“It’s actually gone quite well,” Kayser said. “We have had a few minor glitches, but we expected those and handled them easily.”
Kent Grode, IT director for the UJS, asked the public to be patient as clerk’s offices make the switch to Odyssey.
“They’ve done the training,” he said in an interview last week with The Daily Republic.
“But as you would guess with any new application, there is a little bit of a go-live training process they’ll go through.”
Six of the 14 counties in the Third Judicial Circuit started using Odyssey on Nov. 7, 2011, beginning a statewide conversion process. The remaining Third Circuit counties made the switch May 7, as did the 10 counties in the Fifth Judicial Circuit. Minnehaha and Lincoln counties, which comprise the Second Judicial Circuit, started using the new system Oct. 1.
The eight-county Fourth and the four-county Seventh judicial circuits, both located in western South Dakota, plan to switch to Odyssey on June 3. In the meantime, those circuits still awaiting the switch will continue to use various legacy systems, which were created in-house and have been in use since the 1980s.
As all court documents will now be digitally scanned, the need for physical storage of files will eventually be eliminated and clerks will be able to get immediate access to documents regardless of location, Grode said.
Odyssey gives clerks the ability to digitally file court documents, process payments, and gives law enforcement the ability to digitally submit citations.
“Odyssey provides a single pathway to all that information,” he said.
In February, the South Dakota Supreme Court adopted a new rule that says all court documents, with the exception of exhibits, must be typed or clearly handwritten, must be no smaller than 12-point type and be on just one side of letter-size white paper. The rule is meant to make scanning court documents into a digital format easier for clerks, Grode said.
To continue to provide public access to court documents after the switch to Odyssey is made, UJS intends to install computer terminals at courthouses.
Grode estimated it will be two to three months before any terminals are installed in order to allow a backlog of digital files to be built up. The switch to Odyssey means clerk’s offices in South Dakota will no longer be limited by an aging computer system.
“I think it’s been a learning experience for all of us,” Grode said. “But, it’s a step forward.”