NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Police officers’ lives at risk. Your safety at risk. All because of a computer system that some say still doesn’t work right.
The City of Dallas paid $7.4 million for its record management system. But another company with a better record actually bid less, almost $2 million less. And you, the tax payers, paid the difference.
Sit outside the Dallas Police Department long enough and people will tell you where they think an extra $2 million should be spent.
“I would give them all an all-expense paid trips to Hawaii,” Erle Raw said. Charlie Roberts told us he’d give the department, “Sodas and donuts and coffee.”
“Something to do with technology,” Ken Baldwin added.
The computers inside Dallas’ patrol cars are supposed to help them keep you safe. But Richard Todd, President of the Fraternal Order of Police, says the system isn’t working right. It loses reports, officers get booted from the system when too many users are on at one time, and they can’t access essential information.
“It is horrible,” Todd noted. “It needs to be trashed and done away with.”
There are two main companies connected to this records management system, Unisys, the business that won the original award, and Denali-Intergraph, a sub-contractor. The total contract price for the system cost tax payers $7.4 million.
But the CBS 11 I-Team found out Indico, a Fort Worth-based company, submitted a lower bid for the project at $5.7 million.
“It’s surprising to me. And given some of the research you all have done, I’m shocked,” Todd added. “And I think somebody needs to open an investigation.”
Secret scoring sheets that are used to rank competing companies show Indico, the runner up, wasn’t chosen because they scored lower on functionality, capability and expertise.
But a quick search shows Indico is currently managing successful projects for the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department and the Department of Justice.
Denali-Intergraph, on the other hand, has had problems in San Antonio, Tulsa and Austin.
“Any time you have such a massive change, especially in a technological system, there are going to be issues that need to be worked through. And as I mentioned, the vendor is working with us,” Dallas Assistant Police Chief Christina Smith explained. “They definitely have not ignored our request or suggestions.”
Assistant Chief Smith says their own computers are part of the problem and could be a costly fix down the road. On top of that cost, any new programming outside the original contract will also cost Dallas PD.
But Smith says they do expect some of these issues to permanently go away in the next month.
If this system is not working exactly the way it should, responding to calls gets harder; officers can’t get to essential information, they spend more time trying to file a report, or criminals get released from jail because of a system glitch.
It means officer safety is at risk and so is yours.
The CBS 11 I-Team reached out to Unisys and Brad Bass, a company spokesperson, sent us this statement:
“Unisys worked with the city of Dallas to integrate the Denali (now Intergraph) software as part of a records management system delivered to the city of Dallas Police Department in November 2013. The system is being managed and operated by the city of Dallas. We have not been contacted by the city concerning any issues. We suggest you contact the city directly with any inquiries.”
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