COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – Ohio has a new state-wide criminal database that will make filing warrants, protection orders and background checks easier.

The eWarrant interface is a shared information system that is free to use by courts and law enforcement. It simplifies the process of uploading warrant and protection order information into Ohio’s Law Enforcement Automated Data System (LEADS) and the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), which are the background-check systems that prevent gun sales to wanted criminals and lets police know who has an outstanding warrant.

Governor Mike DeWine ordered the new system after his Warrant Task found that “an untold number” of Ohio warrants and protection orders were slow to be entered or never entered into LEADS and NCIC.

DeWine said the backlog was due to fragmented, inefficient and technologically-obsolete warrant entry practices in use by many courts and law enforcement agencies in Ohio.

“We developed the new eWarrants system to help our criminal justice agencies overcome the information-sharing barriers that have left dangerous holes in our background check systems,” DeWine said. “Agencies that use the eWarrants interface will be able to get up-to-date, comprehensive information into the hands of law enforcement nationwide almost immediately so that they can better protect the public, protect themselves, and prevent the illegal purchase of firearms.”

Meigs County Common Pleas Court was the first to use the new system. It has reduced its bench warrant filing to about 12 minutes, as opposed to the days-long process of physically handing off paperwork between agencies.

DeWine is urging all 88 counties in Ohio to begin using the system.