A $10 Million (or More) Computer System “A Nightmare” Still Won’t Work for Lubbock County, But Why? | KLBK | KAMC
LUBBOCK, Texas – On Monday, EverythingLubbock.com received 903 pages of emails as part of a request for records opened on Jan. 7. The emails were tied to Lubbock County’s integrated criminal justice computer system, which critics say still isn’t working properly.
The county judge said it worked, but admitted there were issues.
“Tyler Technologies, Inc. today announced [November 6, 2018] that it has signed an agreement worth approximately $10 million with Lubbock County,” Tyler Technologies said in a written statement. It has been hailed as “best in class software solutions”.
At the time, Lynn Moore, president and CEO of Tyler, said, “With this agreement, Lubbock County will be one of the most comprehensive users of Tyler products in the nation.”
New online system in August
But when it went live the first week of August 2021, the reviews were and remain severe.
“…About 25% of the time it works and I can find what I’m looking for,” a lawyer wrote in October.
Another attorney, also in October, wrote to the county, “This inability to verify pleadings, reports, orders, status, etc., makes it nearly impossible to do our job, or at least to do it effectively. and correctly.”
Another lawyer wrote, “This issue is not only unacceptable, but honestly an embarrassment.”
“I could never have dreamed of the nightmare that has unfolded in recent months,” he said.
The emails describe a situation where attorneys cannot find and cannot adequately track cases. For a time, attorneys weren’t even able to find out if their clients were in the Lubbock County Detention Center.
Lawyers speaking this week by phone with EverythingLubbock.com said some issues have been mitigated. For example, there is a list of prisons which is updated twice a day. But many other problems remain.
Even civil servants have problems
In August, an investigator from the district attorney’s office wrote that Lubbock police could not access the new system.
“Their property room checks 200-300 cases a day on over a million pieces of evidence they currently have under their roof. They use this access to move a steady stream of closed cases to the destruction bins,” the email states.
EverythingLubbock.com contacted LPD to see if the situation was better.
“In the past,” the LPD said Friday, “the Lubbock Police Department has used Lubbock County computer systems to conduct searches of case status and evidence associated with those cases to determine when evidence may be destroyed in accordance with state law.”
LPD also said, “Currently, the department uses a variety of methods to conduct this research; however, this does not include county systems.
In January, a justice of the peace (JP) told EverythingLubbock.com that he could not provide a copy of an arrest warrant because justices of the peace did not have access to their own records on the computer system. . It wasn’t the first time officials had said they didn’t have access to their own records.
State law requires certain records to be open to the public, and after EverythingLubbock.com complained that Lubbock County was breaking the law, justices of the peace were then given a ‘workaround’ to access the cases if requested by the media.
However, at present, EverythingLubbock.com does not have online access as it did when Ki Corp was the county’s criminal justice computer provider.
Contact Tyler Technologies
In response to questions raised by EverythingLubbock.com in November, Tyler Technologies stated, “Throughout this project, Tyler’s case management software has performed as intended.
On Friday, Tyler provided an updated statement.
“We have confirmed that Tyler’s case management software continues to operate as intended and in accordance with the processes, procedures and workflows determined by Lubbock County upon implementation,” Tyler said. “As you know, learning to navigate a new software system can be time consuming for some users.”
December 13 County Commissioners Meeting
On Dec. 13, Lubbock Commissioners Jason Corley and Chad Seay backed a provision to put the county’s computer department under the entire Court of Commissioners, not just the judge alone.
At the December meeting, Commissioner Gilbert Flores asked, “Who is running the IT department with respect to this tribunal?
“Yes,” Parrish replied.
“I think that’s an excessive burden on you, Judge,” Commissioner Corley said. “I believe we should all share this burden.”
“It hasn’t been an undue burden,” Parrish said at the town hall meeting. “Thank you, Commissar.”
During the reunion, Parrish said his only issue was timing. He said the county organizational chart change should be done as part of the annual budgeting process. On a 3-2 vote (with Parrish voting as one of the three), the measure was tabled through July.
Contact Judge Parrish
On Friday afternoon, Parrish responded to a telephone interview request.
Parrish said the IT department was placed under the county judge before his election. He inherited this system.
“I don’t run the IT department,” Parrish said. But he said he’s the chosen one taking over the IT department.
“I believe some of these issues, especially the public portal, these issues are not fundamental to Tyler,” Parrish said. “It works. It works really well.
Parrish admitted, yes, there are still issues. But he is confident that the software not only saves local taxpayers money, but will also perform much better than the old Ki Corp system once it is fully implemented. He thought it would be three or four months.
In September, news broke that the new system allowed highly private, sometimes confidential, information to be publicly available. Part of the system has been shut down. In some cases, the information was supposed to be erased (a fancy way of saying deleted or destroyed). This was not the case.
Parrish made specific reference to this event in his explanations.
“We found that some cases were supposed to be expunged or undisclosed,” Parrish said. “In the old software, they weren’t erased but hidden. They were meant to be completely removed, not just hidden.
But the portal (the thing that searches for cases) remained unavailable on Friday, not only for old Ki Corp cases, but also for new cases filed since August.
“We found the problem was much deeper than we thought,” Parrish said.
“At first we didn’t know what the problem was,” Parrish said. “By investigating, it improved a lot. There is now a workaround to make these search requests easier.
“Overall, this conversion went pretty well,” Parrish said. “I am very satisfied with the work that has been done. We were told it could take a year to fully implement.
“We’re already seeing savings,” Parrish said. “It’s the Cadillac of software.”
Judge Parrish estimated the cost so far to be between $10 million and $12 million, but he said it was still less money than would have been spent by staying on Ki Corp.
Regarding the concerns raised by the lawyers in the emails, Parrish said, “All I can do is ask them to be patient.”