Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced this week the official launch of Ohio’s new eWarrants system, a statewide criminal justice database that will improve the accuracy of state and federal background checks and streamline the process to file warrants and protection orders in Ohio.
Meigs County Common Pleas Court, which was the first agency to bring the eWarrant system online, has reduced its bench warrant filing time to as little as 12 minutes, as opposed to the previous days-long process that involved the hand-to-hand transfer of paperwork between agencies and duplicative data entry into multiple case management systems.
In addition to Meigs County, the Champaign County Common Pleas Court also recently began using eWarrants, according to a statement from DeWine’s office. The Ohio Department of Public Safety is currently conducting outreach to additional agencies in all 88 counties to encourage use of the free system.
Champaign Countywide Communication Center is also participating, and issued this statement to social media on Wednesday:
“Champaign Countywide Communication Center is proud to follow Meigs County in going online with eWarrants. This statewide database will streamline the warrant and protection order process between agenices and court systems. The process is speedy and accurate for the life of the documents. This system not only provides shared information, it is integrated with LEADS (Ohio’s Law Enforcement Data System) & NCIC (National Crime Information Center) that aids in background checks for gun sales, outstanding warrants and protection orders. It provides this information immediately to Law Enforcement Officers, creating life-saving protection for the public and themselves.”
The new eWarrants interface is a shared information technology system free for use by courts and law enforcement that simplifies the process of uploading warrant and protection order information into Ohio’s Law Enforcement Automated Data System (LEADS) and the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), which are the background-check systems used to prevent inadvertent gun sales to wanted criminals and to aid law enforcement in identifying those with outstanding warrants and open protection orders.
DeWine ordered the development of the eWarrants technology after an analysis by his Warrant Task Force discovered that an untold number of Ohio arrest warrants and protection orders were slow to be – or never – entered into LEADS and NCIC due to the fragmented, inefficient, and technologically-obsolete warrant entry practices in use by many courts and law enforcement agencies in Ohio.
“We developed the new eWarrants system to help our criminal justice agencies overcome the information-sharing barriers that have left dangerous holes in our background check systems,” said DeWine. “Agencies that use the eWarrants interface will be able to get up-to-date, comprehensive information into the hands of law enforcement nationwide almost immediately so that they can better protect the public, protect themselves, and prevent the illegal purchase of firearms.”