New Peoria County criminal records system to go online

By WEEK Producer

August 22, 2013 Updated Aug 22, 2013 at 7:34 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Starting in November the Peoria County Circuit Clerk's office, and the general public, will have quicker access to criminal records.

"(With) the new system, Odyssey, we'll be able to look up a name in the file and the person's whole record will come up," said Peoria County Circuit Clerk Robert Spears.

County employees are already training on the $7-million web-based system, which was designed by Tyler Technologies in Texas. It will replace an decades-old data base that's on the brink of crashing.

Eventually documents will also be accessible from a home or office computer.

"People will be able to look up their particular case if they have a court date coming up. They'll be able to see their traffic ticket on line, things of that nature," explained Deputy Circuit Clerk Pat Risen.

Judges will have access to records from right the bench. And the system will also tie together law enforcement and the courts so they can shuffle the virtual paperwork between agencies with a keystroke.

Spears says it will also free up time so employees can provide more one-on-one service.

"Our people are always answering the phone," said Spears. "When they're out front and you call their office you might not be able to get somebody if you want to know something. This will free up someone to answer the phone and help you out in that area."

Prospective employers, or a landlord, would be able to do their own background checks via the system.

Of course, there's a lot of work to be done first, like scanning all of those documents into the system.