Durham County Government Awarded Major 2017 GIGa Recognition
By Christopher Whittle
Program recognizes local government entities based on innovation within the organization and marks Durham's second GIGa Award in three years.
Durham County's Court Date Reminder application receives top honors in this year's Government Innovation Grant Awards (GIGa). The Court Date Reminder application was developed through a partnership of Durham County's Criminal Justice Resource Center (CJRC) and Information Services & Technology (IS&T) departments. Citizens with upcoming court dates can simply enroll in the program and receive automated reminders by phone, text or email of their upcoming court dates.
CJRC Director, Gudrun Parmer said of the application, 'The critical success factor is defendant participation and the majority of defendants are now using the system. We are expecting to see a measurable reduction in defendants jailed on failure to appear charges, thereby saving money in court and jail operations.'
It was realized that 10% of the county jail occupants were being held because of failing to appear for court dates. Knowing that technology could help minimize missed court dates, Parmer worked with Clerk of Superior Court, Archie Smith, Public Defender, Lawrence Campbell, former Chief District Judge turned North Carolina Representative, Marcia Morey, and District Attorney, Roger Echols to brainstorm the innovation. CJRC Gang Reduction Strategy Manager, James Stuit and Quality Assurance & Data Integrity Manager, Beth Steenberg worked closely with IS&T Senior Applications Analyst, Mickey Mazarick and Durham YES Intern and Junior Developer, Andrew Liriano to design the application.
This marks the second time in three years that Durham County Government has won a GIGa award. In 2014, the County was recognized for the project: Modernizing Document Management; From Paper to Data. This effort highlighted Durham County's conversion of paper documents to digital format providing efficient workflows and cost savings to the County.
GIGa is a partnership between the UNC School of Government (UNCSoG), Local Government Federal Credit Union (LGFCU), and North Carolina Local Government Information Systems Association (NCLGISA). The program provides competitive funding to local government entities based on innovation within the organization. Annually awarded is one $10,000 grant to the winner and two $2,500 grants to two runner ups. Durham County is this years $10,000 winner.