An individual's proximity to the court in which he or she is scheduled to face charges will no longer matter thanks to an expansion of Macomb County's video arraignment system.
New technology implemented by the county last month will allow local courts, such as the 41A District Court, as well as Shelby Township and Utica police departments to video arraign individuals being held outside the county's borders.
As this technology uses the county’s two-way interactive video system to connect with judicial proceedings conducted at remote locations, the need to transport prisoners to court can, in many cases, be eliminated.
While Macomb County has been using this type of system for in-county cases for the past several years, the new technology allows its use statewide.
“The expansion of this technology will greatly improve the way our Macomb County courts will be able to interact with other court systems throughout the state,” said Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel in a statement.
For example, should an individual being held in a northern Michigan facility face charges in Macomb County, the new technology will allow their arraignment, and possibly even a plea and sentencing, to take place without that individual being physically present in Macomb.
This will save time and resources, as the two deputies who would normally be needed to collect the prisoner in a county vehicle can now be used in other capacities closer to home.
“Expanded use of interactive video conference technology will help us save money, operate more efficiently and improve security at the court,” said Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham in a statement.
The second phase of the project, launched Feb. 13, expanded the service to a number of district courts and law enforcement agencies in Macomb, including the 41-A in Shelby Township, 42-1 in Romeo, 42-2 in New Baltimore and 41B District Court in Clinton Township.
Participating law enforcement agencies include the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office and the Shelby Township, Utica, Chesterfield Township and Clinton Township police departments.
The final phase of the project will bring this technology to the remaining courts and law enforcement agencies in Macomb County.
The project was funded by the state and has been implemented in a joint effort involving the State Court Administrative Office (SCAO), the 16th Judicial Circuit, Macomb County Probate courts, the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office and the county’s Information Technology Department.