Throughout the court system in both Kansas and Missouri there is a shortage of at least 28 court reporters, and that can put a strain on the justice system.
At the Johnson County Courthouse, some think it’s a forgotten field.
“Instead of typing where you do one character at a time, we’re doing a number of keys at the same time and we’re putting words down pretty much in syllables,” Kelley Morrison said.
Court reporters are an intricate part of the court system. They type more than 200 words per minute and keep an official record of court proceedings.
“The litigation process simply cannot work or cannot function without an official court reporter,” Johnson County District Court Judge Thomas Sutherland said.
Sutherland says he sometimes takes extra time coordinating schedules to make sure a reporter is available. In some cases, it could delay hearings.
“It can be a real problem for us, particularly with criminal cases where there are speedy trial issues or even civil litigation where the parties are obviously anxious to get their cases resolved,” Sutherland said.
Starting pay for court reporters in Kansas is about $43,000 and it’s $51,000 in Missouri.
Wyandotte County says they are short three reporters. And while Johnson County is fully staffed, they do fill in for courts in the western part of the state who need extra help.
“We will go out there and cover their trial. It’s just important to keep everything moving. You have people sitting in jail waiting for their trial,” Morrison said.
There are three local school options for possible students: NCCC – Ottawa campus; KCKCCC; and the Court Reporting Institute of Kansas City.
You can also find out valuable information at www.discoversteno.com. Students can complete classes in about two years.
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