Oakland May Spend Millions on "New" Police Software

Tracking officer behavior complaints is not cheap.

By Chris Roberts
|  Tuesday, May 22, 2012  |  Updated 4:50 PM PDT
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Oakland May Spend Millions on "New" Police Software

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OPD has egg on its face after scrapping expensive software used to track officer behavior complaints.

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The Oakland Police Department is considering spending as much as $3 million on computer software to track complaints about officer behavior, despite spending $315,000 on similar software it abandoned in 2005, according to the Bay Citizen.

To track officer complaint data now is a time-consuming and frustrating task, as the department's "home-built" computer system is fraught with bugs and frequent crashes, according to the news Web site. The department scrapped a software system bought from Motorola in 2005, despite other departments around the country using the same system with success, the newspaper reported.

With the city's home-grown system, reports and data sets "do not feed directly into the department's database," Sgt. Chris Bolton, the department’s chief of staff, told the Bay Citizen. So data "must be entered by hand into multiple systems," according to the Web site, which is a guaranteed frustration-causer.

The lack of an effective computer tracking system for officer-related complaints is driving police crazy, but more importantly, it's irritating federal Judge Thelton Henderson. Henderson is the judge overseeing OPD's compliance with court-mandated reforms. He has given the department a deadline of July to fix its problems or be taken over by the federal government.

The department will put out the contract for software out to bid, the Web site reported. Top-of-the-line software, written by Microsoft, costs as much as $3 million, while departments like Cincinnati's use the Motorola software Oakland abandoned -- and it's "phenomenal," one cop told the Web site.

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