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Technology upgrade earmarked for Westmoreland courts

| Friday, Aug. 17, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Westmoreland County's 11 courtrooms are getting a technical makeover.

County commissioners on Thursday approved spending more than $35,000 to upgrade the audio-visual equipment in the courts, replacing technology that is more than 15 years old.

The county will purchase big-screen, high-definition televisions, stands, support equipment and evidence presenters that will project images and videos to jurors.

“This will improve the courtrooms and our ability to present evidence in all of our courtrooms,” said Court Administrator Paul Kuntz.

The county purchased about four evidence presenters in the mid-1990s that were moved on carts between courtrooms during trial terms. Older, bulky television sets were rotated among courtrooms.

Now, each courtroom will have at least three television sets and an evidence presenter permanently installed.

The county will use money from its Record Improvement Fund, which is cash collected from filings and fees assessed in row offices, such as the Clerk of Court and Prothonotary offices.

As of July 31, the fund had more than $184,000 in reserve.

Clerk of Courts Bryan Kline, who serves as chairman of the county's Records Improvement Committee, said that since 1998, the fund has doled out more than $1.4 million for upgrades. This year, more than $54,000 has been added to the fund.

“None of it is taxpayer money,” Kline said.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

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