A Pottawatomie County judge and the court clerk are putting two recently-received grants from the Oklahoma Bar Foundation to good use by purchasing equipment for District Court.

A Pottawatomie County judge and the court clerk are putting two recently-received grants from the Oklahoma Bar Foundation to good use by purchasing equipment for District Court.

Pottawatomie County Associate District Judge Dawson Engle, who presides over many cases involving children, said the Pottawatomie County Juvenile Division was awarded a $9,417 grant.

The funds were used to purchase eight iPad Pros with Apple Pencils and keyboards. Those were then checked out to court-appointed attorneys and support staff who work the county''s juvenile deprived and delinquent dockets.

Juvenile deprived cases involve children in DHS custody, while juvenile delinquent cases involve children who have committed crimes.

“All of the juvenile cases are extremely document heavy,” Engle said.

“We receive reports from caseworkers, counselors and foster parents.  With the iPads we can all exchange the reports electronically without the need to print multiple copies” he said. “They allow us to work much faster since we are all using the same technology.  The attorneys have weekly case staffings to discuss the status of the children and families.  The iPads will allow the attorneys to meet remotely with video chat.”

Pottawatomie County Court Clerk Valerie Ueltzen's office received a grant for $2,397 to purchase three digital voice recorders for court reporters.  The recorders will allow the court reporters to fully utilize the features of their stenotype machines.

The two grants for Pottawatomie County were part of 11 counties receiving funds totaling $96,564.

The Grants & Awards Committee held interviews with judges and court clerks from counties across the state, more than half of whom were applying for an OBF grant for a first time. The Board of Trustees unanimously approved the Committee’s recommendation to grant funds to all 11 applicants, totaling $96,564.

The Oklahoma Bar Foundation reports that the majority of the grant requests were received for updated audio, visual and recording equipment used in court proceedings, with the need stemming from outdated and obsolete equipment in many courthouses and the lack of funds to replace the equipment.

The Court Grant Fund was established in 2008 and has since made awards to 53 of the 77 district courts in Oklahoma.

“It is a priority of the OBF Board of Trustees to provide funding to courts in every county of the state. With each cycle of our yearly Court Grant process we get closer to achieving this goal,” said Patrick O’Hara, Grants & Awards Committee Chairman.

For more information, go to www.okbarfoundation.org.