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columbia-county-courthouseColumbia County, Wisconsin is on the shortlist to receive updated and new audio and video recording equipment for their courtrooms. This to fill in gaps as a statewide shortage of court reporters shows no signs of slowing.

Circuit Court Judge Andrew Voigt said the state is working to place new video and audio recording systems in almost all courtrooms across the state within the next two to three years, to provide uniformity in systems. The recording systems will also be used to address the rising shortage of court reporters, as a large number are set to retire, with very few new reporters entering the field to replace them.

(Yes, this is the same story we keep hearing all over the country.)


“There is a very significant percentage of court reporters in the state of Wisconsin eligible to retire in the next five years, dramatically more than are graduating from court reporting schools in Wisconsin,” said Voigt. “There is no conceivable way that the graduates could fill all of what will be open spaces.”


The state will provide the equipment and technology. But because the county owns the courthouse, it will be responsible for wiring or rewiring the courtrooms for installation. The state will be responsible for storing the files that are recorded in courtrooms and making them available.

Voigt said these systems will likely not be extensively used in the near future as there is still enough court reporters working in the county.

“This is a response to (an expected shortage of court reporters) because we as a court system don’t ever want to be in a position where we can’t hold court because we are missing personnel,” he said.


Will Technology Replace Court Reporters

While this is all meant to fill gaps in the absence of a court reporter, it will not eliminate the need for someone to operate the computer system used to record, and create transcripts from the recordings nor will it eliminate all court reporter positions throughout the state.

The county was not aware of the costs of this system. The money needed to wire the courtrooms is not accounted for in the 2020 budget, but is needed by the time the state is ready to install the equipment which Voigt says will likely be late February or early March.

“There’s so many unknowns with this, but we don’t have a choice, by statute they can order us to do this,” said County Board Chairman Vern Gove. “We don’t know what this is going to be, but it could be a big amount.” supports all states and programs that aid in the court reporting world, and we too are ready to serve you in your court reporting, videography services, interpreters, live-streaming, and video-to-text synchronization.

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