Cranky computers pinch Durham police : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Cranky computers pinch Durham police

Saturday, February 5, 2000 Associated Press

DURHAM, N.C. - Durham police never could get their laptop computers to do the nifty things other police agencies were able do from their patrol cars. When they made a traffic stop, they couldn't find out whether the driver had a record or was wanted. They couldn't write traffic reports. Now, frustrated city officials have learned that the 95 laptops, more than two years old now, are obsolete, lacking the memory to work properly at all. City Manager Lamont Ewell has threatened to sue HTE Corp., the Florida company that was paid $947,637 to install the system, unless it can find a way to upgrade the mobile data terminals and make them work by Feb. 18. "Your firm agreed to provide this turnkey system within 90 days," Ewell wrote. "It has now been over two and a half years. ... Frankly, I am incredulous. The citizens of the city of Durham deserve to receive the upgraded service that they have paid for." John Pedersen, assistant city manager, said that under a turnkey contract, a company is responsible for delivering the complete package, software and hardware, and for integrating the system. Police Maj. George Hare said 15 patrol cars have laptops that don't work at all, and the others are able only to handle computer-aided dispatching and car-to-car messaging. In the meantime, the city is considering leasing terminals or buying new ones. The cost of new machines, and the equipment needed to mount them in police cars, could reach $500,000, police estimate. HTE is expected to pay the additional cost. An HTE representative said he was surprised by the complaints. "We've been working with Durham for months," said Donald Nagle, HTE's director of public safety and justice systems. "We hadn't had any conversation with city officials about any laptop issues at this point."

-- Martin Thompson (, February 05, 2000

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