Local News

Wilson Law Enforcement Decides 'Smart COP' Flunks

Posted July 9, 2007

— After four years and hundreds of thousands of dollars, Wilson's two law enforcement agencies scrapped a technology system, saying it never worked. Its replacement will cost more than $1 million.

In 2003, the Wilson Police Department and Wilson County Sheriff’s Office adopted Smart COP software to help them work together more efficiently.

The departments are the only two in North Carolina to use Smart COP.

The software was supposed to provide an integrated, mobile environment in which officers and deputies could share information, file reports and look up suspect information from their patrol cars.

The system increased “the visibility of officers being in the neighborhoods more often. ... They are sitting in their cars where the crimes are occurring,” said Maj. John Farmer of the Sheriff’s Office.

Farmer and Police Chief Harry Tyson added, however, that the software never worked properly. And after what officials called four years of frustration, the departments are giving up on Smart Cop.

“We knew when we went live with that (Smart COP), that all the pieces at that time were not working. I reckon we were optimistic to think that there was going to come a day when the mobile piece would work,” said Tyson.

“I think it’s been frustrating for all parties,” said Farmer.

In 2005, the agencies sent a letter to the CEO of the Florida-based Smart COP company expressing “total frustration and dissatisfaction.” For another two years, the company promised to fix the software.

WRAL's calls to Smart COP spokespeople were not returned.

In April, Wilson city and county agreed to spend money for a system from Open Systems Solutions, Inc., which many law-enforcement departments in North Carolina use.

The OSSI system will cost more than $1 million and should be working within six months to a year, officials said.

Tyson evaluated the cost for the Smart COP system and the switch to the new system.

“There were some benefits. Money lost? I don't know if it was money lost. It’s just the loses were stacking up, and we couldn't keep going that route,” said Tyson.

Officials said they derived some benefits from the hundreds of thousands spent on Smart COP.

“For right now, it’s (the money) lost. Well, you can say lost. We got a system. We got information for the two agencies to come together,” said Farmer.


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  • retSBI Jul 10, 2007

    Too many Chiefs that don t bother to see a system work before they buy. What idiots. Don t be the guinea pig with your taxpayer millions. State government, local government all the same with people that don t know squat about communications making million dollar decisions and crawling under the rug or retiring when reality strikes. No accountability from anyone. The same one s are probably still in charge and covering each other's a-- for the next round of executive decisions.

  • daddio Jul 10, 2007

    The main problem with getting software is that the companies that sell these systems will basically lie and say anything that will make the deal. Unfortunately, the customer is usually not as knowledgable about computers as they could be, and even if they are, there is no way to know about the final product unitl it is on board. It is unreal how many demos I have seen in which there are problems that are explained away. It is always Buyer Beware. If you don't have a really good IT person, you are in deep trouble.

  • Derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Jul 10, 2007

    The article says the problem was with the software. Software bugs shouldn't have anything to do with modem vs wireless.

  • nowayeddy Jul 10, 2007

    Derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, If I have to explain, you wouldn't understand

  • one_nc_citizen Jul 10, 2007

    they are not the first organization to spend a lot of money on bad software. software companies should deliver what they promise.

  • Halyard Jul 10, 2007

    Looks like another attempt to try to save a dollar and wind up costing $3. Yet another bill we Wilson Co. taxpayers took on the chin. Why didn't they go with the proven OSSI system in the first place?

  • gratefultoGOD Jul 10, 2007

    That's a shame.. should do more research before buying nest time.

  • leo149 Jul 10, 2007

    OSSI is a great user friendly program for LEO's. My agency has it and it works great. The wireless cards, on the other hand could be better but overall OSSI's products, in my opinion, can not be beat.

  • Brick Tamland Jul 10, 2007

    Maybe you should try it out and make sure all the bugs are fixed before you spend all that money on it. Idiots.

  • yaright Jul 10, 2007

    You can't fix stupid but the public will pay for stupid!