Smith County, Texas (Smith County) — Smith County has received the 2014 Excellence Award from the Texas Association of Government Information Technology Managers (TAGITM) for developing a first-of-its-kind electronic bond posting system that has streamlined the process of bonding individuals out of jail and saved the County thousands of dollars in labor. The “Smith County eBond Program” is one of just three projects in the state of Texas to receive the Excellence Award, which highlights outstanding innovation and the advancement of information technology in local governments in Texas.
Developing the Smith County eBond Program required the collaboration of multiple County offices including the IT Department, Pre-Trial Release, the Sheriff’s Office, JP Offices and others. These individual offices came together to find an original and cost effective solution to ensure the bonding process could continue uninterrupted as renovations were being made to the Downtown Jail site.
“These individuals collaborated to develop the very first electronic bonding application;” Smith County Chief Technology Officer Don Bell said. “We are the very first ones who have been able to do this, and we have caught the attention of many other counties across the State.”
The eBond Program provides an electronic forum for bondsmen and County employees to access and process required legal forms and post monetary transactions, making the bonding procedure safer and more efficient for all parties involved. It eliminates the time consuming and labor intensive task of physically receiving, processing and archiving bond paperwork and payments for each individual inmate. After electronically processing more than 8,600 cases in the past year, Smith County reports an approximate savings of more than $100,000 in labor and supplies.
“It is a huge honor to be recognized at the state level. People all over the state are looking at this program and I think it is going to go far;” County Judge Joel Baker said. “The big deal is that this program is saving time and money for the County and its citizens.”