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Durham Police Still Find Bugs in 3-Year-Old Computer System

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DURHAM — Durham Policehave fancy laptop computers in their squad cars, but three years after taking the high-tech road, there are still major bugs in the system.

Durham was one of the first communities to get the high-tech patrol car computers, but many other departments got their systems up and running much faster.

Now, Durham has hired the expert who helped Wake County get started with this technology.

Officer Daniel Osman says his patrol car computer takes some of the risk out of answering calls.

"You can press in a key and find out all the calls to that address in the last two or three months. In terms of officer safety, it could throw a red flag to tell you that you might need some more backup," said Osman.

Durham's 50 patrol car computers have received dispatches from its 911 center since January, but the computers have been in the cars for more than three years.

By now, Durham Police were hoping the $1.5 million computer system would do a lot more, including vehicle and driver record searches plus in-field police reports.

The person brought in last month to straighten this out says the blame lies in part with the software companies hired to install the technology.

"We've had contractual deadlines that have been missed by our vendors, and we've done our best to hold their feet to the fire," said Randy Browning, information services director.

The police department believes it will have all the bugs worked out of this system by the summer.

Even if the system does get up and running by the summer, the new information services director says that they may have to replace all the laptops because they have become obsolete.

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Len Besthoff, Reporter
John Cox, Photographer
John Clark, Web Editor

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