Free service gives speedy notice of court orders

A new, free service designed to provide victims with earlier notification when a protective order has been served on their behalf was announced Thursday as a collaborative effort of the Oregon Judicial Department, State Police and Department of Justice.

"People protected by abuse prevention or stalking protective orders will know almost immediately when that judicial order has taken effect," said Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul J. De Muniz in a press release. "That allows them to know they are protected and can report any violations to law enforcement."

Called the Protection Orders Notification Project, the service is an option that will provide immediate notice to victims via e-mail and/or text message when a protection order has been served on their behalf.

"This will speed up information and be beneficial to all involved," said Jackson County Undersheriff Rod Countryman.

Those who request the service will receive electronic notification as soon as the information is entered into the law enforcement database by a Jackson County Sheriff's Department staff member. Countryman said staff is currently working with the state to correct "minor glitches" in the system to "make sure everything is working smoothly."

The enhancement to the "return of service" form already mailed to the victim comes at a time when domestic violence homicides have increased in Oregon. Sixty-six people have died as a result of intimate partner homicide since January 2009, with 18 victims killed over a 30-day period in November 2009.

While the official notification process via mail may take several days, automated messaging will allow victims who are in danger more time to plan for their safety. The service will provide renewal notices and warnings 30 days before the expiration of an active protection order.

The interagency collaboration represents an estimated cost savings of $150,000.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or e-mail

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