Not too long ago, the Bell County District Court records were timed to a document that outlined the hearings scheduled for that week, listed by date and courtroom. However, in reality, court cases are constantly in flux as new hearings are scheduled and others are postponed to later dates. Since last year’s move to an online court records search system — Odyssey from Tyler Technologies, Inc. — the public has access to records that reflect the changes that are still happening in the offices of court coordinators.
Members of the public and media should still request specific documents such as affidavits of arrest and legal motions from attorneys, but the public portal is searchable by name and county registration number as well as by courtroom , lawyer and date.
“Transparency was absolutely a priority for us,” Bell County Department of Technology Services chief Adam Ward said in an email response to questions from The Herald.
Bell County used its old system for more than 30 years, but it couldn’t keep pace with a growing thirst for information, he said.
“Given the increasing data and security demands placed on our technology services department, it had become increasingly costly and time-consuming to respond to the large number of requests made to the system,” Ward said. “A solution like Odyssey helps us bridge the transparency gap, while meeting all of our security needs. The old system was also becoming increasingly difficult to maintain, due to the technology platform and keeping pace with innovations in case management. Tyler’s solution was one of the few software platforms on the market that could handle the workload and integration needed for Bell County.
Bell County officially retired its old system on June 1, 2021.
“The total implementation cost was just under $3.5 million and under budget,” Ward said. “Continuing software support, which includes changes to legal requirements, general support, bug fixes, and innovation enhancements, costs $254,763 per year.”
The initial costs to implement the system included the purchase of software, hardware and support software as well as an implementation services team for two years and data conversion services to convert 30 years of data historical.
Bell County is in the process of integrating Tyler’s Attorney Manager solution for use in both county attorney offices.
“The county also operates two additional products from Tyler, our prison management system (New World) and our jury management system (Courthouse Technologies),” Ward said. “Neither of these two products were purchased or implemented while owned by Tyler, but were purchased during Tyler’s acquisitions of two companies.”
Based in Plano, Tyler Technologies was founded in 1966 and now serves municipalities nationwide.