By Janice Morris, Clerk of Superior and State Courts
As the year comes to an end, I would like to inform Rockdale County citizens about changes that have been implemented in the courthouse. There have been several improvements throughout the court system that will allow information to be more accessible while still providing security and protection for residents. Laws have changed and technology has advanced further, and I have made certain that Rockdale County evolves and adapts to those changes.
Technology is vital in our department, and it is rapidly progressing; everything is going paperless. Procedures that would require people to come into our office can now be done by a computer, an electronic pad, or phone. It is imperative that our county stays abreast of the latest court programs and data processing systems.
I support the utilization of technology to make things convenient and accessible for citizens. Some of the tools and resources that we added this year are the Mvix digital display boards, credit card payment integration systems, software updates, property fraud protection, and the replacement of old equipment. Our upgrades have made the services we offer a more straightforward process.
The Mvix digital display boards project announcements, and dockets for Traffic Court, State Court, and Superior Court. Upon entering the courthouse there wasn’t anything visually available to help guide people where they needed to be. We added digital boards to reduce confusion and give people a tool that will assist them when navigating through the courthouse. We currently have three boards, one which is placed in front of our passport division that lists the requirements to receive your passport.
Another breakthrough feature that we added to the courthouse is our credit card machines. When I became the clerk, I toured each department to observe how it operated and what could be done to make things more efficient. I was astonished to learn that our courthouse did not accept credit card payments. Not having a credit card payment system showed that our process was antiquated and needed to be scaled up. It was time to develop a plan and modernize the Rockdale County Courthouse payment system. With the assistance of advance systems, and my IT department, we were able to install four Ingenico credit card devices to accept payments in our Passport, State Civil, Superior Civil, and Superior Criminal Divisions.
In addition to the credit card system, we also launched a program called Defendant Access in our State Criminal and Superior Criminal cases. Defendant Access is an online payment system where defendants can pay their cases and traffic citations.
Recently our Real Estate division has undergone a dramatic transformation. We replaced our pervious software with Resolution 3 for real estate land record software. However, the most monumental advancement is the property fraud protection that we now offer to Rockdale residents and property owners.
Property fraud can occur if someone forges your identity, transfers your property into their name, and officially records the document. This fraudulent activity can make it appear as if that person owns your home or property, and you may not have any idea that this happened. Property Check will automatically alert you when official documents are recorded on your property. Citizens can sign up on our website WWW.ROCKDALECLERK.COM. I highly recommend property owners to take advantage of this extra layer of security to protect their home. Our Real Estate division also hosted two notary training courses this year, with more to come in the new year.
I have attended numerous conferences this year and sat down with vendors to discuss ways we could optimize our performance. This allowed me to bring back a wealth of information and resources that would help the courts flourish. Being active in this role led to refining our Jury Duty Services. Citizens can now opt-in on their cellular device to receive reminder text messages about their jury date.
The Rockdale County Clerk of Superior and State Courts offices have been making huge strides in every department. I ensured that our staff were fully trained by allowing them to cross train in other divisions. I also enhanced our Kiosk Online experience, replaced old equipment, and we now offer E Certification, which allows citizens to request certified and regular copies of documents online.
I am grateful to the citizens of Rockdale County for choosing me to represent them and trusting me to secure their records. This year, we processed 656 appeals for the Board of Equalization, 71 appeals for a hearing officer. We also partnered with the Conyers-Rockdale Library and hosted five free Law Library topics.
Our office sponsored three interns, two high school seniors, and one headed to college. Among other things we observed Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a walk honoring survivors and encouraging others in their fight. I was also a guest speaker at Edwards Middle School Career Day. I also completed my mandated Clerk of Court Training.
The Clerk of Courts Office has served 28,143 customers from Jan. 3, 2023, through November 22, 2023. I take my duties and responsibilities seriously as a clerk. I attend county meetings, town halls, engage in community outreach programs, and make sure that I am in touch with the people so we can be the best courthouse in the State of Georgia. That is why I am working hand in hand with the county to ensure the needs of the courts are fulfilled in the new Rockdale County Judicial and Administrative Complex.
Thank you, Rockdale, for allowing me to serve your needs as the Clerk of Superior and State Courts.