BY ROBERT MORALES
Virginia Doyal has served as Hudspeth County Clerk for three years. Before taking office, she was the assistant for County Judge Becky Walker for about two years. Prior to working for Judge Walker, she was the jail sergeant for the Sheriffâ€™s Office.
Before entering county government, she was a rural mail carrier in San Elizario and a Postmaster Relief in Ft. Hancock for several years.
The process of automating records in the clerkâ€™s office had begun shortly before Ms. Doyal took office. The previous county clerk had been scanning records into microfilm. When that system proved to be unsustainable, the clerk contracted with I-Docket for the current scanning system that is in place today.
Ms. Doyal explained that although Hudspeth County is now using I-Docket for its digitized property and court records, the previous clerk had used software that the county dropped in favor of I-Docket.
My purpose for going with I-Docket was to make things easier for everyone concerned,â€ said Ms. Doyal. “If we had all of our property records on I-Docket, we could image the actual record, index it, get all the information from the deed. It makes it much simpler for us to instantly provide information to a caller that canâ€™t come into the office for whatever reason.â€
She added that having the digitized computer system saves a tremendous amount of time by not having to go to the large bound deed books. For those persons who want to do a search for easements, mineral rights, land rights and other searches, there is at least one available computer for the public. Ms. Doyal said several more computers will likely be added based upon demand.
The I-Docket system also includes court records for Hudspeth County. “We can image any document, lawsuit, judgment or any piece of paper that goes into a court file,â€ said Ms. Doyal. “Not only does this help us, the new system links us to our district judges. It makes it easier for Judge (Roy) Ferguson when he has a case in Hudspeth County.â€
In addition, the courthouse in Hudspeth County has wi-fi for any judge to be able to tap into the I-Docket system. Judges can also log in and have access to Hudspeth County court records from any location.
Ms. Doyal said that the county pays a yearly fee for I-Docket, which includes instant customer service when she or one of her office assistants encounters a problem. “I have nothing but praise for the I-Docket representatives,â€ said Ms. Doyal.
“They are excellent with communication and they will immediately address any issues we may run into.â€
The Hudspeth County clerkâ€™s office is now in the process of allowing online (internet) access for all records, which would make it easier for not only Hudspeth County residents, but for any person wishing to find a record. As for cost, any person can log on to iDdocket.com and perform one free search per day. Packages are available for attorneys, judges, bonding companies and other large users.
“This is a wonderful tool we offer,â€ said Ms. Doyal. “Anyone can search our records, and that includes defendants. Our system makes public records much more accessible to everyone. Unlike microfilm that is susceptible to the elements and can disintegrate, our system is backed up on a daily basis, and there is no chance of losing the information.â€
Ms. Doyal is proud of the improvements made in her office since she became county and district clerk. “I have my hard-working team to thank for that,â€she said. She added that efficiency is the key to the success of her office, which she said includes almost instantaneous recording of documents. “When we record a document, there really is no waiting period. A document is recorded on the same day, and it may take a couple of days for a person to receive a recorded copy by mail.â€