An effort initiated by Massillon Municipal Court has helped to secure funds for new video systems being used in court proceedings in Stark County.
Massillon court was recently awarded a $123,000 remote technology grant via the Ohio Supreme Court, permitting the court to fund two wireless, multi-media remote video carts.
The mobile cart systems have been applied to existing technology, allowing the Stark County Sheriff’s Office to conduct safe, contact-free court hearings for inmates that take place virtually with Massillon and other county courts. The devices allow video screens to move from room to room at the county jail.
“Massillon court focused on collaboration with the sheriff and his staff in extending our video conferencing equipment to the jail during this pandemic to ensure the safety of law enforcement officers, attorneys and their clients and all of our partner courts,” Massillon Judge Edward Elum said in a news release.
“The video conference carts will assist all Stark County courts and provide flexibility in court hearings and protect the due process rights of the defendants,” the judge added.
The mobile carts are the first of their kind to be used within the county court system.
“This collaboration reflects the ongoing and seamless partnerships among the Stark County Sheriff’s Office and the Stark County court system,” said Sheriff George Maier.
With the two video systems operational, a pair of court hearings can run simultaneously from the sheriff’s office. Other courts can utilize the devices with the SCSO.
Elum said three Massillon courtrooms have been equipped with new technology using much of the $123,000 tech grant.
Video cameras, computer monitors and other digital hardware were purchased, said the judge, adding that the equipment has been utilized by the courts for about two weeks.
“We could not have done this with our internal funding,” Elum said. “The Ohio Supreme Court moved fast in getting us (the money.)”