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Indiana Court Times on 9/14/2020 by Paige Newland, Learning Consultant/Program Coordinator | Office of Court Services
An emergency like flood, fire, power outage, mold, active human threat—or, as we all now realize, a pandemic—can adversely impact the court system in ways we may not expect. Employee absence, loss of records, technology failure, or facility damage can greatly diminish the effectiveness of the court system and result in the delayed administration of justice. The COVID-19 pandemic underscores the critical need for courts to be prepared for the unexpected.
The importance of court emergency preparedness is aptly summarized by the following from a 2019 National Center for State Courts Report:
Given the critical nature of [the courts’] responsibilities, the development of effective emergency management strategies and a Continuity of Operations Plan is essential to the courts’ ability to continue their mission-essential functions.”
Long before the pandemic, the Indiana Office of Court Services planned an emergency preparedness and COOP education program to cap off the 2020 Spring Judicial College. But as COVID-19 arrived in Indiana, IOCS had to heed its own advice and adapt this program for remote delivery.