Alameda County court computer system creating big problems

Wednesday, February 01, 2017 12:13PM
Alameda County is scrambling to fix a computer system that's been creating chaos with faulty arrest warrants, changing criminal convictions and more.


OAKLAND, Calif. - Alameda County is scrambling to fix a multi-million dollar computer system that's been creating chaos with faulty arrest warrants, changing criminal convictions and more.

Some people have even stayed in jail an extra day or two because the release order from the judge didn't reach the jailers until much later.

Alameda County has clerks working quickly to put orders from judges into the system. Officials say the problem is that the system just takes longer for them, with more drop down screens and steps than the 40-year-old system they were using required.

They just don't think this system was meant for a court of this size.

If the judge revokes a warrant but it takes a while to get into the system, the police officers see the warrant, see the person and arrest the person.

The Public Defender's Office is asking that the court stop using the software. It's a problem because they don't have an old system to go back to, so everyone is currently scratching their heads.

"It's very frustrating and there's no obvious solution in sight. We spent a lot of money on this system that we have and we don't have the resources to buy a new system. We're looking at what it would take to maybe try to program our own system or program some kind of a fix but again, programmers don't come cheap, especially in the Bay Area. We're frustrated because all roads to a solution seem to lead to money and that's the one thing the court doesn't have enough of right now," Alameda County Court's Chad Finke said.

The software company, Tyler Technologies, has yet to respond. Alameda County court officials say other counties are dealing with the same problems and are hoping Tyler Technologies will help find a solution.

Meantime, Alameda County says the number of problems have gone down. The clerks are getting faster at dealing with the system. They are also prioritizing issues such as warrants and jail releases over less important, less life-impacting data.
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