Prosecutor uses Uber for witness, victim rides to court

About a year ago the Macomb County prosecutor noticed a reoccurring problem at the courthouse.

"We've been having trouble getting victims and witnesses in the courtroom," Eric Smith said. "And often times judges want their cases heard now and they started dismissing them."

Prosecutor Eric Smith says he would hear various legitimate reasons why people couldn't or didn't want to come to court. It's not there weren't options to get there, Smith says people just weren't taking them up on the offer.

"We've always used police officers to pick up victims if they don't have a ride," Smith said. "But they don't like that. They don't like neighbors seeing them getting into a police car."

And so his office brainstormed away to get people to court without the distractions or fear.

"They don't want the defendants to know what kind of car they drive and sometimes they just don't have a ride," Smith said. "So we thought what can we do about this and Uber popped up."

Uber is the ride sharing service in which everyday people use their own car to chauffer clients from A to B. And they started seeing results.

In the last year the Macomb County Prosecutor says they have used Uber to bring victims or witnesses to this courthouse over 100 times. And now that they know it works, they plan to use it even more.

It works so well; the prosecutor's office has an account with Uber Central.

"So far we've been paying for it out of our forfeiture funds," Smith said.

And he anticipates that this Uber with be self-sustaining as soon as the criminals involved in these crimes are sentenced.

"We are really looking forward to using the defendants' money to bring our victims to court," he said.